Blueberries

Health Benefits: 

  • Contains the antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol
  • Contain anthocyanins which give them their deep color
  • Can protect your heart
  • Can improve memory
  • Can reduce UTIs

Research: 

  • A new randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics using  postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension  were randomly assigned to receive either 22 g freeze-dried blueberry powder or 22 g control powder. The results show daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which may be due, in part, to increased nitric oxide production.

Nutrition Information (1/2 cup): 

  • Calories: 40
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fat, cholesterol, sodium: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 7 grams
  • Vitamin C: 10%
  • Iron: 2%

Choose: 

  • Fresh
    • Look for deep blue color, plump, firm, smooth-skinned with a silvery surface bloom
    • No leaves or stems
    • Size is not an indicator of maturity
    • Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe, and won’t ripen once they are picked but you can use them in cooking.
    • Avoid blueberries that look soft or shriveled or have any signs of mold. If you see juice stains in a container of blueberries, the fruit might be bruised.
  • Frozen
    • You can find pre-washed, unsweetened frozen blueberries packed in poly bags or boxes in most supermarket frozen food sections.
    • When you grab a bag of frozen blueberries, they should feel loose and not clumped together. They’ve been individually quick frozen so you can remove a few at a time or use them in larger portions.

Store: 

  • Fresh
    • Refrigerate fresh blueberries when you get them home, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container.
    • Be sure to wash your blueberries just before you start snacking
    • Eat them within 10 days of purchase
  • Frozen
    • If you don’t use the whole bag of blueberries, return the rest to the freezer promptly
    • If you thaw the blueberries, cover, refrigerate and use them within three days.

Cook: 

  • The combination of savory and sweet ingredients makes blueberries the perfect match for salty, zesty or aromatic dishes
  • Lemon and mint are common flavor pairings
  • Rosemary, coconut, balsamic, cheese, and banana also pair well

Serve: 

  • Sprinkle them onto ice cream, yogurt, and oatmeal or pop them right in your mouth for a refreshing treat.
  • Frozen blueberries are easy to use in smoothies and fruit shakes.
  • They add a flavorful punch to burgers
  • Ideal for baking blueberry muffins and scones.

References:

  • Harnish, Amelia. “The 7 healthiest summer fruits.” Ladies’ Home Journal. July/August 2014. 58
  • Tyrrell, Michael. “Ripe for the Picking: 10 take on fruit-filled summer sweets.” Family Circle.  August 2014. 138.
  • “Eat to Beat Allergies.” Shape. May 2014. 122.
  • Goad, Kim. “Are you smarter than a heart attack?” Prevention. July 2014. 91.
  • Johnson, Sarah A. et al. “Daily Blueberry Consumption Improves Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Postmenopausal Women with Pre- and Stage 1-Hypertension: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2015). JAND. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.
  • “US Highbush Blueberry Council.” Retrieved from http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/
  • “Blueberries.” (13 Jan 2015). Retrieved from http://snap.nal.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce/blueberries
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