This blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
We’re right in the heart of blueberry season, so it’s a great opportunity to look at what makes this delicious summertime favorite so nutritious.
Blueberries are constantly receiving positive press, and deservedly so: their antioxidant power ranks them among the top “super foods” that provide vital health benefits. According to WebMD and the American Dietetic Association, blueberries boast the power to help prevent cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol, and can benefit the immune system, cognitive function, eye health, and digestion. Their antioxidant content and high levels of fiber; vitamins A, E, and C; potassium; and manganese provide these benefits.
Are Blueberries a New Secret Weight Loss Weapon?
If the previously mentioned health benefits weren’t enough to send you hurrying to the produce section of the nearest supermarket, what about the fact that a recent study has shown promise for the blueberry in its ability to fight obesity on a molecular level? According to a recent study at Texas Woman’s University, polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) from blueberries hindered the development of adipose (fat) cells in mice. The effects were dependent on the size of the dose; the highest dose had the most impact on the cells.
Further studies are needed, as the jury is still out on the potential effects of polyphenol doses in humans. However, one can’t help but wonder: is the ability to bottle a blueberry’s nutritional power on the horizon?
In the meantime, the old-fashioned way of consuming your polyphenols through a diet rich in unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds (and even wine, tea, coffee, and chocolate!) should certainly be adequate. In fact, Mother Nature may see to it that this remains the best means, as it appears that there are polyphenols that cannot be extracted that are an important part of these foods’ nutritional value.
Healthy and Delicious Ways to Enjoy Blueberries
Think about simple ways that you can add more blueberries to your diet. They make great toppings for yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cold cereal, and oatmeal. Add them to smoothies and fruit salads, or simply enjoy a handful for dessert or a snack. They’re most nutritious in their raw state, but adding them to pancakes, waffles, muffins, breads, and more will still add a sweet, nutritious burst of flavor.