Blueberries Have More Antioxidants and Flavonoids Than Any Other Fruits and Vegetables

mcherwood By mcherwood, 17th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2oh1l72g/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

Blueberries belong to the heath family and are native to North America. Blueberries, more than any other fruit or vegetable, contain the largest amount of antioxidants and flavonoids which protect the body against free radicals. They are also a source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, all of which promote good health.

Blueberries Have More Antioxidants and Flavonoids Than Any Other Fruits and Vegetables

Fats Domino sang to us about blueberries long before any of us knew the positive effects of eating blueberries. "Blueberry Hill" should now be our theme song when we are planning our meals.

What do we know about blueberries?

Blueberries are the fruit of a plant that belongs to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. The color of the blueberry ranges from blue to dark purple and is coated with a white-gray wax covering which serves as a protection.

Blueberries are native to North America where they grow in the woods and mountainous regions of the United States and Canada. They are generally not found in Europe and have only recently been cultivated in Australia.

Blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to prepare and serve. Just refrigerate and then rinse before serving. Pesticides are not necessary during the growing stage since birds are the only creatures that prey on blueberries.

Antioxidants, Flavonoids and Free Radicals

Blueberries as well as other fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables contain antioxidents which we know as Vitamins C and E. Blueberries have been found to provide more antioxidants than any other fruits or vegetables.

Antioxidants help to protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals and chronic disease associated with the aging process.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are linked to the development of a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts and macular degeneration. Free radicals damage cell membranes and DNA through a process known as oxidative stress.

Blueberries are a source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, phenolics and flavonoids. Phenolics play a protective role against coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. Flavonoids give the blueberry its vibrant blue color and trigger enzymes that reduce the risk of the age-related diseases mentioned. It has also been indicated that flavonoids may help to prevent tooth decay as well as urinary tract infection.

Blueberries contain 14 mg. of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg. of Vitamin E for each cup of blueberries we eat. They are low in calories and sodium and contain no fat or cholesterol. One serving of fresh blueberries provides more antioxidant activity than any other fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

How to incorporate blueberries in your diet

Fresh or frozen blueberries can be added to your hot or cold cereal in the morning.

Add blueberries to plain yogurt for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Use your blender to make a blueberry smoothie with skim milk.

Dried blueberries can be used in place of raisins or cranberries.

Make blueberry muffins with your traditional muffin recipe and fresh blueberries.

Make blueberry preserves and jellies to continue your healthy intake over the winter months.

A blueberry pie would be a pleasant surprise for your family. It takes about 4 cups of blueberries to make a pie.

Helpful Tips when preparing blueberries

Do not place blueberries in a closed bag or container. Leave the container open to prevent the absorption of water.

Chill blueberries soon after picking to increase shelf life. If refrigerated, fresh-picked blueberries will keep up to two weeks.

Don't wash blueberries until just before using to prevent them from becoming mushy.

Blueberries that are cultivated in the United States are available from May through October while imported blueberries may be found at other times of the year. Blueberries are somewhat more expensive than other fruits. Costs may vary depending upon region and time of year.

Fats Domino would be proud of you!

Sources:

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, 2002
www.pickyourown.org
www.whfoods.org

Tags

Antioxidants, Blueberries, Blueberry Hill, Blueberry Pie, Cereal, Fats Domino, Flavonoids, Free Radicals, Heath Family, Muffin, North America, Oxidative Stress, Smoothie, Vitamins C And E

Meet the author

author avatar mcherwood
I am a retired teacher/ administrator for the Buffalo School System. I hold a Ph.D. in Educational Administration.
I write book reviews, film reviews plus a large variety of topics.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Jun 2013 (#)

I have three blueberry plants in my yard, they have not done really well but maybe this year!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Maine blueberries...my favorite...:0)...great article and ideas, thank you...

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author avatar Esther Thornburg
18th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, interesting information.

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