Blueberries: Food of the Month

blueberries

(HealthCastle.com) Highlighting this month's food of the month was pretty easy work. Blueberries, our choice for August, are truly nutritional superstars. They are also tasty and easily found in markets and stores across North America, with multiple varieties to choose from. The fruit can range in size from tiny pea-sized balls to those as big as marbles and can be any color from blue to maroon to dark purple. Blueberries can be tart and a little crunchy when unripe; as the berries ripen the flesh softens and the fruit sweetens.

Who Doesn't Love Blueberries?

Nutrition Tidbits for Blueberries

  • One cup of blueberries contains:
    • Calories: 84 kcal
    • Fat: 0.5 g
    • Carbohydrates: 21.4 g
    • Protein: 1.1 gFiber: 3.6 g
    • Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below 55)

Blueberries are a great source of fiber, a good source of antioxidant Vitamins C and E, and manganese – a mineral that helps activate many important metabolic enzymes in our bodies. Additionally, the berries are chock-full of powerful phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which are strong antioxidants (and give the berries their trademark bluish-purple hue). They also enhance the effects of Vitamin C.

There is some evidence that the antioxidant capacity of blueberries increases as the fruit ripens. The berries will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but they are best consumed within a couple of days because they are fragile. Freeze leftover berries because they make great smoothies and can also be added to batters or doughs for your favorite baked goods.

Ways to Include More Blueberries in Your Diet

  • Add them to smoothies, granola, cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or salads
  • Use them in homemade popsicles for a cool treat
  • When making rice pudding, replace raisins with blueberries (add them in towards the end of cooking)
  • Add blueberries to homemade iced tea, or mash them up and mix them with sparkling water and lemon juice
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