Blueberries remind me of summer. I can eat them by the handful and love to pick them by the bucket loads. In short, who doesn’t love blueberries? It’s good to know that blueberries are very good for you too and it’s important to understand all their health benefits.
Maine produces some 25 percent of all blueberries eaten in the North America. They grow from mid-May until September and are made into all sorts of desserts, dishes, jams, teas, and snacks. Blueberries are rich in manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. Per 3.5 ounces, they have about 2.5 grams of fiber, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 0.3 grams of fat and 0.7 grams of protein. Blueberries are very low on the glycemic index scale, scoring 4 out of 100! This is important for those looking to lower the sugar in their diet or stick to a low glycemic meal plan.
Blueberries are very high in antioxidants – specifically anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins. These have all been linked to lowered inflammation and a decreased risk for disease and cancer. Eating them has been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and inhibiting viruses, preventing urinary tract infections and improving eyesight. Blueberries might be beneficial to lowering cholesterol and triglycerides as well as blood pressure.
Be sure to eat just organic blueberries as their thin skin makes them particularly susceptible to absorbing pesticides and herbicides commonly sprayed on the bushes. The Environmental Working Group has blueberries listed as number five in their top 12 Dirty Dozen foods to eat organic. This is after celery, peaches, strawberries, and apples with nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes, and imported grapes rounding out the group.
Incorporate blueberries into your everyday meals! Mix them in with your breakfast smoothie or put them in your oatmeal. Sprinkle them on your salad, eat them with a handful of nuts as a snack, bake them in muffins, or blend them into your plain yogurt with some vanilla for flavor. Blueberries are a great superfood, especially in the summer.