In 1911 Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey cranberry farmer, and Frederick Coville, a USDA botanist teamed up to plant the first blueberry crop.
By 1916 these two pioneers had sold their first commercial crop of blueberries in Whitesbog, NJ. And this marked the beginning of an incredible journey for a small, but powerful, and delicious fruit.
Blueberry Nutrients Are “Berry” Necessary
The color of the blueberry is part of its magic. This deep purple-blue to blue-black, sweet and juicy fruit, is not only delicious but is packed with fiber, vitamins C and K, manganese and phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Below is what you can find in a cup of blueberries:
- Water – 125 g
- Energy – 84 kcal
- Protein – 1.1 g
- Fat – 0.49 g (low)
- Sugars – 14.74 g (low)
- Fiber – 3.6 g
- Calcium – 9 mg
What gives blueberries their beautiful color? Surprisingly, most purple foods contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Basically, antioxidants like anthocyanin prevent damage to our cells and help us to live better (healthier) and longer lives. These anthocyanins have been linked to:
- longer life
- better heart health
- cancer prevention
- improved memory
7 Huge Benefits of Eating Blueberries
Let’s be honest. Eating healthy can be tough. What to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. What’s in this, what’s in that, this is bad this is good. There is information everywhere and much of it doesn’t make sense.
- Improved memory and cognition – Many studies have supported this and have even shown an improvement in mood. A Harvard study showed eating one or more servings of blueberries each week slowed the decline in the way we think as we age by many years in women
- Improved heart health – A study at Harvard showed eating blueberries reduced the risk of heart attacks in women by 33%. Blueberries also appear to reduce the blockages in arteries, possibly through lowering cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure – Laboratory studies show wild blueberries may help lower blood pressure and protect our blood vessels too.
- Reduce the risk of Diabetes
- Reduce high blood sugar in metabolic syndrome – metabolic syndrome is a combination of disorders, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and problems with blood sugar.
- Improve gut health – by improving the good bacteria in our colons
- Cancer prevention – the fiber in blueberries can help fight cancer in many ways with weight control being one. In the laboratory, blueberries decrease the changes that occur early when cancer is developing, in both colon and breast cancer. Recently researchers at the University of Missouri found blueberry extract could make radiation treatment more effective on cancer cells. Led by Dr. Yujiang Fang, they found that they could use less radiation and enhance their ability to destroy cancer cells! Basically, the cancer cells become more sensitive to the radiation.
How many foods are simple, delicious and packed with good stuff? The blueberry just makes eating healthy and feeling good easy.
How to Add More Blueberries with That Life
Living longer and healthier is something important to all of us. And eating blueberries is a great way to make this a reality. Below are some great excuses to eat more blueberries:
- Blueberries on their own or with a little whipped cream are delicious
- Blueberries in salads
- Blueberries with yogurt and granola
- Create smoothies with blueberries (frozen are good too, with a little honey or stevia your sweet tooth will be satisfied)
- Blueberry pancakes and waffles
- Dried blueberries on their own or in trail mix is an excellent snack
- Pies and Cakes (not the healthiest option but a delicious one)
The possibilities are delicious; they are endless; and they will open the door to better health and living through food. Enjoy the blueberry.