blueberriesBlueberries Health Benefits – Eating a Rainbow of Coloful Food for Your Health

We have come to eating the color Blue in our Rainbow Journey. July is the perfect month to be talking of this yummy color …remember picking Blueberries in the summer? Blueberries are  one of the top foods to eat for their nutritional benefits.

Health Benefits of blueberries:

  1. improve cognitive and motor skills
  2. improve short-term memory
  3. increase balance and coordination
  4. help improve eyesight and night vision
  5. prevent urinary tract infections
  6. decrease cholesterol
  7. protect against macular degeneration
  8. improve cardiovascular health

Blueberries are a North American berry they were used by the Native Americans as a power food to give them vitamins and minerals. Gathered t and dried to provide food in the winter, then  mixed with dried buffalo meat, berries, and fat…. This mixture was called pemmican and provided perfect nutrition…protein, vitamins, and minerals from the blueberries, and fat for calories to provide energy.

Blueberries have been used for medicinal purposes to help calm coughs, as a relaxant during childbirth, and to combat digestive distress. They contain anthocyanins…powerful antioxidants which also have a mild antibiotic effect against E-coli which in an intestinal bacteria that causes diarrhea.

2 times more antioxidants than spinach and 3 times more than oranges.

They are ranked highest in antioxidants. The anthocyanins, which means “plant” and “blue” are what gives these berries their beautiful color. These antioxidants help to decrease heart disease by cleaning out arterial plaques and helps prevent cancer, especially cervical and breast cancer.

Chlorogenic acid is another antioxidant which helps to slow the release of glucose into the blood making blueberries a beneficial food for diabetics and combating insulin resistance. Most of the processed foods we eat and the simple carbohydrates lead to too much glucose floating around in our blood.

Eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index, foods that slow the release of glucose in our blood, is a much healthier way to eat and helps promote healthy blood glucose levels.

Eating lower glycemic index foods also encourages weight loss.

Another compound in blueberries is ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has been shown to bind to cancer-causing chemicals in our bodies and also blocks the metabolic pathways of cancer cells. They are very powerful cancer-fighting compounds.

Catechins are phytochemicals that help dimish the formation of arterial plaques.

Blueberries are a great food for fighting heart disease.

There is a lot of news about the benefits of resveratrol.

Resveratrol is found in red grape skins and therefore found in red wine. It is also found in blueberries. Resveratrol is a powerful anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, has powerful anti-aging properties, an anti-inflammatory, and also lays claim to prolong our life.

A caution to those with kidney or gallbladder issues.

Like spinach, blueberries contain oxalates which bind to calcium. This can cause kidney and gallstones. Eat blueberries separate from calcium-rich foods.

Look for berries that are firm and have a silvery grey surface called “the bloom”. This protects the skin. Only wash them when you are ready to eat them to keep this protection on the skin. Keep your blueberries cool to prevent molding too quickly. You can also freeze blueberries but this does destroy some of the Vit. A and Vit. C content.

Blueberries are a great addition to cereal, muffins, or just eating plain. Cultivated blueberries are sweeter and usually bigger than wild blueberries. Farmer’s markets are a great place to get your blueberries because they have been picked ripe. You can get imported blueberries but they have to be picked early to prevent spoiling and usually aren’t as sweet as those picked ripe.

Enjoy this sweet summer fruit… it is one of the best ones you can eat!

Next month I will be concluding our Rainbow Journey with the color Purple…until then…Happy Summer!

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Lisa Metzgar

Lisa Metzgar

Nutrition Tidbits by Lisa Metzgar, PhD
LisaMetzgar, PhD,she received her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and received her Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition.

Lisa has taught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia and currently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutrition counseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families about a healthy lifestyle.
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