Superfood: The blueberry


Apr 30, 2021

 by Kiersten Mueller
Share

Superfood: Blueberries

By Sara Colman Carlson, Balanced Habits RDN, CDE

Are superfoods real or is it a myth that a single food can keep us healthier? It’s true that when it
comes to nutrient power, some foods pack more benefits than others. Blueberries are one of
those superfoods to consider adding to your grocery list.

The main powerhouse of blueberries is the large number of antioxidants and phytochemicals
found in them. These include phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins and quercetin that
boost antioxidant capacity. In addition, bioactive components such as flavonoids and cinnamic
acid provide protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and memory
loss. As a matter of fact, blueberries have been identified as one of the riches fruit sources of
antioxidants.

Research studies on blueberries have discovered these tiny blueberries may:
 improve nerve cell signals in the brain to help short and long
term memory
 counteract oxidative stress
 decrease acute and chronic inflammation
 impact insulin sensitivity and diabetes
 reduce blood pressure
 help reduce abdominal fat
 increase satiety

Blueberries are a great addition to any diet with 84 calories, 21
grams of carbohydrate and 3.5 grams of fiber in a one-cup serving. They also contain vitamins A
and C, folate, potassium, and vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.

One great thing about blueberries is the flexibility in ways to incorporate into your diet. My
favorite is to enjoy them straight from the package. Add a handful to a salad, cereal or yogurt;
use in baking, or add a dollop of whipped cream and fresh mint to enjoy as a dessert. Frozen
berries are great for a smoothie or quick frozen snack.

You will find cultivated and wild blueberries, available fresh, frozen, dried and freeze-dried. This
time of year as fresh berries are starting to be harvested, the prices start dropping. The peak
season is from May through July. This is the time to ramp up your blueberry intake and stock up
by freezing berries for later.

Adding blueberries to your weekly meal plan is a small change. As you may be learning, it’s
these small changes in your habits that add up to make a difference in improving health and
preventing chronic disease. I encourage you to look for other small changes that make a
difference for you.