July is National Blueberry Month, so what better time to focus on a berry with one of the highest—if not the highest—antioxidant capacities among all fruit native to North America, the antioxidant properties of blueberries support whole body functions like regulating blood sugar, eye health, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function. Blueberries also contain ample amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K1, fiber, and manganese. But it doesn’t stop there; these super berries are nutritious right down to their pigments. Anthocyanin—the nutrient that gives blueberries their color—is associated with good vision and the ability to fight chronic diseases.
Blueberries help to prevent constipation and maintain regularity for a healthful digestive tract because of their fiber content. Dietary fiber is also commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. High fiber foods increase satiety, or the feeling of being full, and reduce appetite. Feeling fuller for longer can reduce a person’s overall calorie intake.
One cup of fresh blueberries contains:
- 84 calories
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 1.1 g of protein
- 0.49 g of fat
- 21.45 g of carbohydrate
- 3.6 g of dietary fiber
- 14.74 g of total sugars
That same one-cup serving provides 24 percent of daily vitamin C, 5 percent of daily vitamin B6 and 36 percent of daily vitamin K. Blueberries are also a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, f zinc and folate. Blueberries also contain copper, beta-carotene, folate, choline, vitamins A and E, and manganese.
As well as anthocyanins, vitamins, and minerals, blueberries contain a diverse range of phenolic compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and chlorogenic acid. These contribute to the antioxidant capacity of blueberries.
Blueberries are sold fresh almost year round in your produce department. They may then be used in a variety of consumer goods, such as jellies or jams, muffins, snack foods, or as an added to your morning breakfast cereal. Or just rinse under water ant eat them whole!
Blueberry Mind Bender Smoothie
Combine 2 tablespoons walnuts and 1 ¼ cups vanilla soy milk in a blender and blend from low to high until smooth. Add 1 cup blueberries, 1 banana, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, and ½ cup ice, and blend from low to high until smooth.