Booming Blueberries

February 23, 2018 Providence Health Team

Blueberries are more than just a refreshing, deliciously sweet treat. They are one of the world’s healthiest foods—and are nothing short of amazing. Did you know blueberries contain a higher concentration of antioxidants than any other fruit, vegetable or spice? Antioxidants are protective compounds that can safely interact with and stabilize free radicals--harmful molecules that may be linked to heart disease and cancer. In addition to neutralizing harmful molecules, these little blue wonders support heart health, and decrease “bad” cholesterol, the risk of obesity, and diabetes.

Combine blueberries with a healthy, active lifestyle.

Consuming antioxidant-rich foods will not work to your advantage if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unhealthy habits, like smoking and poor overall nutrition, can exacerbate the formation of free radicals, putting you at increased risk for inflammation, illness and disease.

To get the most antioxidant benefit out of a serving or two of blueberries, you should consider reducing (and eventually eliminating) fructose sugar from your diet. Instead, give alternative sweeteners like agave or honey a try. Other important steps to boosting your body’s antioxidant power are regular exercise and sleep.

Blueberries may boost brain power.

Blueberries are said to improve brain function and memory, repair damaged brain cells, and help slow mental decline. Their antioxidant qualities may also fortify your immune system, reduce the appearance of aging, and lessen eyestrain and vision loss.

These are the nutrients in blueberries and their health benefits

  • Iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K build bone strength.
  • Potassium, calcium and magnesium help lower blood pressure.
  • Fiber supports lower blood glucose levels.
  • Fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B6 decrease the risk of heart disease.
  • Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, keeps blood vessels firm and protects your skin from bruising. Each of these benefits are important for those living with cancer.
  • Copper and phenolic compounds may play a role in suppressing several types of cancer cells.

In sum, blueberries are a delicious, powerful, and natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that can bolster a healthy lifestyle.

Blueberry Your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Try eating 1 ½ cups (two servings) of blueberries per day for increased wellness. Here are a few delicious ideas:

  • Breakfast. Top oatmeal or yogurt with blueberries, or add a generous scoop alongside your favorite morning meal.
  • Lunch. Add blueberries to your weekday salad for a tangy change of pace.
  • Dinner. Make a delectable blueberry balsamic sauce and pair with chicken kabobs or flank steak
  • Snack. Mix blueberries, fat-free vanilla yogurt, and a sweetener like agave or honey, freeze, and treat yourself to a delicious frozen popsicle.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

 

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