This month we are highlighting the health benefits of the Blueberry, one of the first foods to be known as a 'superfood'. Cultivated blueberries are common and taste sweeter than those grown in the wild which can be tart. Blueberries are a deep blue-purple colour with a thin translucent skin and tiny seeds.
We use blueberries in three of our smoothies; the Blues Beater (with kefir milk), the Blueberry Stressbuster (with nuts, maca and banana) and the Triple B (with banana and beetroot). These are new recipes introduced during 2017 by the new owners of Barannes and have all become some of our best sellers. One of our most popular smoothies is the Morning Boost, made with mixed berries, including blueberry. Like us, you appear to love blueberries!
If you are a regular customer, you may have noticed a difference in the taste of our blueberries, this year. We have changed supplier and ow use frozen wild blueberries, originating from within the EU. We have found them to be much brighter in colour and sweeter than the fresh ones we used previously.
Although they do grow in the UK, most of the blueberries you will come across in the shops will be imported. There are many different varieties of blueberry growing in different regions of the world. Huckleberries and bilberries are well known members of the blueberry family, native to North America. Blueberries grow in clusters on shrubby bushes and can range in size.
Blueberries are among the most nutritious of all berries. A normal serving (~150g) of blueberries contains:
- Fibre: 4 grams.
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA.
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 25% of the RDA.
- Plus small amounts of various other nutrients.
Blueberries are around 85% water, with the typical serving containing only 84 calories, with 15g of carbohydrates. Calorie for calorie, this makes them an excellent source of several important nutrients.
High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important. They protect our bodies from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids appear to be the major antioxidant compounds.
The antioxidants in blueberries seem to have benefits for the brain, helping to improve brain function and delaying age-related decline.
Blueberries reduce DNA Damage
Several studies have shown that blueberries and blueberry juice can protect against DNA damage, a leading driver of aging and cancer.
Blueberries Protect Cholesterol in The Blood From Becoming Damaged
The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to protect LDL lipoproteins (the "bad" cholesterol) from oxidative damage, a crucial step in the pathway towards heart disease.
Blueberries May Lower Blood Pressure
Regular blueberry intake has been shown to lower blood pressure in numerous studies.
Anthocyanins in Blueberries Can Have Anti-Diabetic Effects
Several studies have shown that blueberries have anti-diabetic effects, helping to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.
Substances in Them May Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections
Like cranberries, blueberries contain substances that can prevent certain bacteria from binding to the wall of the urinary bladder. This may be useful in preventing urinary tract infections.
Blueberries May Help Reduce Muscle Damage After Strenuous Exercise
Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. This is driven, in part, by local inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscle tissue. Blueberry supplementation may reduce the damage that occurs at the molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduction in muscle performance. In a small study of 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises.
It is clear from many research studies and evidence that blueberries are incredibly healthy and nutritious. The fact that they are sweet, colourful, and can be enjoyed both fresh and frozen, is just a tasty bonus. This is why blueberries have become a key ingredient in our smoothies and we will continue to come up with recipes that use them.