With July being National Blueberry Month let’s talk about this amazing superfood rated as one of the highest antioxidant foods and helps in fighting off free radicals that can cause damage to cellular structures within your body.
Blueberries are a Native American plant and an American favorite. Before the 1900s, Americans could only find blueberries in the wild before being cultivated by early scientists for consumption. Blueberry bushes will produce for up to twenty years, thrive in acidic soil, and are relatively hassle-free to maintain. Blueberries are at their peak harvest from April through late September and are grown in 35 out of 50 states in North America. They deliver the highest nutrient value when consumed fresh and raw.
Did you know: Eating just a ¼ cup of blueberries a day you will reap great benefits and can make a significant impact on your health. You can sprinkle them in smoothies, add them to salads or yogurt, make pancakes or muffins, or simply enjoy a handful of fresh raw delicious blueberries.
Unfortunately, due to the love and high demand for this berry, they are often genetically modified and saturated with pesticides to protect this valuable crop. Therefore, it is very important to choose organic, whenever possible, to get the full health benefits without compromising the body by consuming unnecessary pesticides.
Importance of Organic versus Conventional Berries
Blueberries are part of the EWG's 2021 "12 dirty dozen foods", a listing of a dozen fruits and vegetables that are commonly exposed to high levels of pesticides and have a thin outer layer that does little to protect them from absorbing chemicals and toxins. They are ranked from highest to lowest in pesticide residue with blueberries being the 16th highest fruit containing pesticides.
Organically grown blueberries often have higher antioxidant values than conventionally grown crops, where the fruit’s potential is degraded by the presence of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemical treatments that are harmful to our bodies. These chemicals are harmful to our gut and digestive system, they even irritate the brain!
Nearly 70 percent of the non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides, according to EWG’s analysis of the latest test data from the Federal Department of Agriculture. Some people believe the chemicals are safe in small amounts, but not even small amounts should be in our food!
The next time you see the higher price for organic blueberries, remember to think of the health benefits and instead of comparing price, compare quality and nutritional value. Shop for them when they are in season and buy in bulk so you can preserve them for later in the year.
Blueberries have antioxidant compounds that are helpful in essential ocular health and aid in delaying degenerating eye issues. Issues like cataracts, myopia, hypermetropia, retina infections, and blindness can be postponed with increased consumption of blueberries throughout your lifespan. These proanthocyanidins that have such powerful therapeutic benefits also give the blueberry its blue color.
Blueberries are rich in beneficial compounds plus vitamins and minerals:
- High levels of polyphenols (antioxidants)
- Vitamin C (healthy skin, good vision, and so much more)
- Packed with fiber (keeps you fuller, longer)
- Excellent source of manganese (helps body process cholesterol)
- Contain natural form of aspirin (lessens chronic inflammation and pain)
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin A and E
There are countless studies linking blueberries with good health. Here are just a few of the areas scientists believe blueberries can improve your health and well-being:
- Cardiovascular health
- Brain health
- Insulin response
- Cancer prevention
Here are a few more facts about blueberries:
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants. They have the highest antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits. The powerful antioxidants in blueberries improve the immune system and prevent infections such as urinary tract infections.
Blueberries can help reduce the risk of cancer. They contain anthocyanin that gives them a dark hue, which is known to attack free radicals that cause cancer in the body.
Blueberries can help with weight loss. They are low in fat and sodium and are low in calories, with just about 80 calories per cup, making them a healthy, low-calorie snack.
Blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C that promotes tissue growth and wound healing. They provide about 25% of the daily requirement for vitamin C in one serving
Rich in manganese that supports bone development and helps the body to process cholesterol and convert carbohydrates to energy.
Blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which reduces the risk of heart diseases and obesity since it adds bulk to your diet and keeps you full longer. Just three servings of blueberries a week can help to fight heart diseases, memory loss, and indigestion.
Blueberries are excellent for the brain. They improve brain health and reduce the risk of memory loss.
As you grow older, consider adding more blueberries to your diet. Blueberries’ antioxidant anthocyanin has been shown to prevent physical signs of aging like osteoporosis, age spots, and wrinkles. They also aid in helping to ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the degradation of neurons and brain cells.
These berries are one of nature’s most powerful superfoods and you will want to be indulging in this tiny little berry and reaping the benefits as a part of your optimal health plan. So don’t delay—start incorporating more of these tiny nutritional gems in your diet now!