The Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are awesome in so many ways. Those little blue balls are packed full of reasons to include them in your diet daily. If you have never been to a pick-your-own blueberry farm, you will need to add that to your bucket list. The beautiful rows of blueberries everywhere make the trip worthwhile. If you can’t get to a farm and pick-your-own, the grocery store or farmers market is another great place to get blueberries.
You can purchase blueberries in bulk and freeze them or dehydrate them so you can enjoy them for a longer period of time. In fact, they are super easy to process and save them; freeze them or dehydrate them. Process them when they are in season, so you won’t have to run out.
Blueberries can improve the overall health of the heart, skin, bones and help manage diabetes, aid in cancer prevention, and play a role in mental health too. There are many factors that play a role in the final verdict regarding how it helps you; your over all health and the foods you currently consume are just two of the factors. You can talk to your doctor or dietitian to determine how you can benefit from the consumption of blueberries.
Adding just one cup of blueberries daily to your diet will give you over 20% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C.
Blueberries can easily fit into your everyday lifestyle for snacking or adding to your yogurt or a glass of water.
Blueberries have a season. They don’t like extreme heat; they like to grow best in the early part of summer so they are picked and chillin’ inside the fridge before it gets too hot outside.
The blue color in blueberries come from a compound in the plant called anthocyanin.
If you are trying to lose weight, you will want to add blueberries to your weight loss plan. These tiny berries can make a healthy snack, can add flavor to yogurt, can give cereal a burst of taste, and more. If you find yourself craving foods on your diet, you will want to try eating on a cup of blueberries instead of a bag of chips.
Dehydrated blueberries are also a great way to keep blueberries on hand for those weak moment when you want a snack but don’t want something that isn’t good for you. You can purchase fresh blueberries and then dehydrate them yourself in the oven so you know just how fresh they are and they won’t contain any artificial preservatives either.
To dehydrate, wash your fresh blueberries well and allow them to dry as much as possible or dab them with a dry cloth to remove the access water. Place them flat on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and slide them into an oven that has been preheated to 225 degrees. Allow the blueberries about three hours at that temperature to dehydrate. Remove from the oven and allow the blueberries to dry before placing them inside a container with a seal tight lid.
There are many benefits to consuming blueberries. There is so much jam packed inside the tiny berry. There are so many benefits to consuming blueberries and here are just a few of them:
Antioxidant – your body needs everything it can get a hold of to keep strong and fight off all the germs and bacteria coming your way. Blueberries are known to have the highest level of antioxidants compared to any other fruit. When you add blueberries to your diet, you are boosting your antioxidants for a healthier you.
Skin Health – skin needs the right amount of collagen in order to appear healthy. Collagen depends on vitamin C in order to help block skin damage that may be caused by outside factors.
Blood Pressure – Because there are low sodium levels found in blueberries, it cannot cause your blood pressure to rise.
Manage your Diabetes – because blueberries have approximately 3.6 grams of fiber in one cup, the fiber can improve glucose levels, insulin levels, and lipids.
Heart Health – Your heart depends on a lot of vitamins and minerals that come from the foods we consume. Because blueberries contain certain levels of vitamin C, potassium, folate, B6, and fiber the heart will be healthier when you add blueberries to your daily intake.
Cancer Prevention – free radicals that are linked to certain diseases can make a body sick. With blueberries concentrated amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, as well as all the phytonutrients inside each berry, your body will have a stronger defense making it capable of fighting off certain cancer.
Mental Health –Blueberries can help slow down the development of cognitive decline in women as well as improve short term memory. As you age, it's important to keep your mind as sharp as possible. It's easy to slow down on thinking through things because we have access to the world wide web which does about anything we need it to do. Keep your mind sharp and enjoy the taste of blueberries together – it’s a win! Win! situation.
Digestion – In today’s world of fast foods and convenient foods, you can almost bet that at some point in your day, you are going to have issues with digestion. Blueberries has a high fiber count so because of that, the nutrients can get to your organs faster and the waste can leave your body, giving you a healthier digestion and a stronger immune system.
Painful inflammation – the older you get, the harder it is to get your day started. Adding blueberries in your diet daily will give your body all the vitamins and nutrients to move a little better. There are also some types of diseases that can slow down the movement of the body over time. Inflammation can set in and make it even harder to move. Instead of reaching for a prescription medicine, grab some blueberries instead.
Bringing Blueberries to your Kitchen
When you get home with your fresh blueberries, you should immediately prepare them for consumption by washing them over water thoroughly touching each berry with the clean water so all chemicals and contaminates wash off. Give them a gentle shake in the strainer and turn them onto a towel to dry a little before placing them in a container and setting them in the fridge. Blueberries mold easily so it's important that you get all the access water off the berries before you place them into a container and set them in the fridge. They don’t need a lid to cover them otherwise they may mold quickly.
When incorporating the berries into a recipe, you will most likely just drop them in and stir them around.
Blueberries and Beauty
Blueberry Face Mask – because blueberries have a lot of antioxidants as well as vitamins, its great for natural looking skin. You can use a blueberry facial mask once a week for twenty minutes. Mix half a cup of blueberries that are crushed with one cup of yogurt, plain. Apply to the face and allow it to soak for twenty minutes before rinsing off.
Hair Growth – Blueberries can help promote hair growth. The natural chemicals found in these berries can stimulate the follicles and increase growth of the hair. To create a hair mask that will give your hair growth a boost, add one-fourth cup of blueberries with one tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine and apply to the hair. Allow it to set for twenty minutes before rinsing.
Vitamins and Nutrients found in Blueberries
One cup of fresh blueberries may not seem like a lot of blueberries, but look what that one cup has:
Cholesterol – 0 g
Calories – 84
Fat – 0.49 g
Fiber – 3.6 g
Protein – 1.1 g
Carbs – 21.45 g
Sugars – 14.74 g
Calcium – 9 mg
Iron – 0.41 mg
Magnesium – 9 mg
Phosphorus – 18 mg
Sodium – 1 mg
Zinc – 0.24 mg
Folate – 9 mg
Vitamin C – 24% of daily allowance
Vitamin K – 36% of daily allowance
Vitamin B6 – 5% of daily allowance
Other important nutrients found in blueberries include Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Manganese, Beta-Carotene, Choline, and Copper.
Blueberries taste good in so many different foods. Add them to waffles and pancakes, muffins or breads, drop a couple in your cereal or oatmeal, and bite into a blueberry in your yogurt will be a treat. You can make blueberry smoothies too.
Make a cobbler with your blueberries and give yourself a break with a slice of cobbler and a tall glass of iced tea, or coffee if you prefer. This is not only easy to make but it's also a great tasting treat.
Blueberry Salsa can be a delicious topping for your fish tacos. Bring together cilantro, red onions, and sunflower seeds. Add a handful of blueberries on top and you have a tasty topping.
Salads are great with the right combination of ingredients. Add feta cheese, spinach, a few blueberries that you dehydrated, and lemon vinaigrette dressing. Give it a toss and enjoy.