What are Blueberries?
Blueberries are rich in fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient. These nutrients has many health benefits which includes eye health, skin health, heart health, aids lower blood pressure among others.
Blueberries are available fresh, frozen, freeze dried, and in jellies, syrups, and jams.Blueberries can be incorporates in meals by using them as toppings on oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, or cereal. They can be added in a smoothie, in salads, in muffins and sweet breads or blended as part of a fresh syrup to top desserts or breakfast foods.
History Of Blueberries
Blueberries are one of the few fruit species native to North America and have a colorful history dating back to pre-colonial times. The blueberry is in the genus Vaccinium and is closely related to the azalea, cranberry and rhododendron. Species in the blueberry family are known by many names, including cowberry, bilberry, farkleberry and sparkleberry. Blueberries are also mistakenly referred to as huckleberries, which are actually a different genus (Gaylussacia).
The blueberry was gathered and used by Native Americans for centuries before colonists arrived from Europe. The blueberry was sacred to the Indians in part because the blossom-end of the berry is shaped like a five-pointed star. The Indians believed that the berries were sent by the Great Spirit during a great famine to relieve the hunger of their children.
The Native Americans ate blueberries fresh and dried them to preserve them for use in winter. The berries were mixed with meat to make pemmican, and mixed with cornmeal, honey and water to make a pudding called “sautauthig”. The juice of the fruit was used to make cough syrup while the leaves were made into a tea meant to fortify the blood. The juice was also used as a dye for cloth and baskets. Dried berries were used in soups and stews and used as a rub for meat.
When English settlers arrived in America, they tried to implement English farming practices in America. Coupled with an attempt at communal living, this proved disastrous. The New England settlers nearly starved to death until the Indians taught them about native plants. In addition to teaching the settlers about growing corn, the Wampanoag Indians taught English settlers of Plymouth how to gather and dry blueberries to keep them through the winter.
The blueberries used by the Indians were the wild, or low bush variety. Most blueberries that are cultivated today are the high bush variety that was domesticated in the early 20th century by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville. The plants have been improved over the years to increase the size, color and yield of the berry. Even thought the wild berries are smaller, they are more flavorful than their cultivated cousins. Cultivation has been so successful that America now grows over 90% of the blueberries in the world.
What the Indians knew years ago has recently been rediscovered: blueberries are very good for your health. During the Civil War soldiers drank a blueberry beverage that was supposed to improve their health. Now recent studies showing the health benefits of eating blueberries have driven blueberry consumption even higher.
Blueberries are easily preserved by freezing, canning and drying. They can also be juiced or made into jam or preserves. The surge in the popularity of blueberries has caused home gardeners to plant these shrubs in nearly every growing area of America.
Nutritional Value of Blueberries
Blueberries are a nutrient-dense food, meaning that there aren’t a lot of calories in blueberries, but they pack in a good amount of vitamins and minerals. The blueberries nutrition profile is especially high in fiber, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C.
One cup of fresh blueberries contains:
- 84 calories
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 1.1 g of protein
- 0.49 g of fat
- 21.45 g of carbohydrate
- 3.6 g of dietary fiber
- 14.74 g of total sugars
- 9mg of Calcium
- 0.41 mg of iron
- 114 mg of potassium
- 9 mg of magnesium
- 18 mg of phosphorus
- 1 mg of sodium
- 0.24 mg of zinc
- 9 mg of folate
- Vitamin C 24% RDA
- Vitamin B6 5% RDA
- Vitamin K 36% RDA
In addition to the nutrients listed above, blueberries also contain some niacin, vitamin A, folate, pantothenic acid, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Not only that, but blueberries also contain other beneficial compounds, including resveratrol, anthocyanin, phytonutrients and pterostilbene. It’s this blueberry nutrition profile that provides all the wonderful health benefits of blueberries.
Blueberries Are Low in Calories, But High in Nutrients
The blueberry is a flowering shrub that produces berries that are colored blue to purple, also known as blueberries. It is strongly related to similar shrubs, such as those that produce cranberries and huckleberries. Blueberries are small, around 5-16 millimeters (0.2-0.6 inches) in diameter, and have a flared crown at the end. They are green in color at first, then change to blue-purple as they ripen.
These are the two most common types:
- High-bush blueberries are the most commonly grown species in the US.
- Low-bush blueberries are often referred to as “wild” blueberries. They are typically smaller and richer in some antioxidants.
Blueberries are among the most nutrient dense berries. A 1 cup serving (148 grams) of blueberries contains:
- Fiber: 4 grams.
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA.
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 25% of the RDA.
- Then it contains small amounts of various other nutrients.
They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates. Calorie for calorie, this makes them an excellent source of several important nutrients.
Blueberries consist of 14% carbs and 84% water. They contain only minor amounts of protein (0.7%) and fat (0.3%). Most of the carbs come from simple sugars like glucose and fructose, but they also contain some fiber. Blueberries have a score of 53 on the glycemic index, which is relatively low. This means that blueberries should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels and are considered to be safe for diabetics.
Dietary fiber is an important part of a healthy diet and may have protective effects against various diseases. One cup of blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber. In fact, around 16% of the carb content is in the form of fiber.
Vitamins and Minerals
Blueberries are a good source of several vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin K1: Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K1, which is also known as phylloquinone. Vitamin K1 is mostly involved in blood clotting, but may also benefit bone health.
Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant that is important for skin health and immune function.
Manganese: This essential mineral is required for normal amino acid, protein, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.
Blueberries also contain small amounts of vitamin E, vitamin B6 and copper.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. These include:
Anthocyanins: These antioxidants give blueberries their color and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Quercetin: High intake of this flavonol has been linked with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Myricetin: This flavonol may have a number of health benefits, and has properties that may help prevent cancer and diabetes.
Anthocyanins are the main antioxidant compounds found in blueberries. They belong to a large family of polyphenols called flavonoids. Anthocyanins are believed to be responsible for many of the beneficial health effects of blueberries. More than 15 different anthocyanins have been detected in blueberries, but malvidin and delphinidin are the predominant compounds. These anthocyanins seem to be concentrated in the skin. Therefore, the outer layer of the berry is the most valuable part.
Amazing Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries contain iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K which are components of the bone. Iron and zinc helps maintain the strength and elasticity of bones and joints.Vitamin K aids in calcium absorption which helps in bone strength.
2. Skin health
Blueberries contain vitamin C which helps in collagen production which has the ability to smooth wrinkles and enhance overall skin texture.
3. Helps Lower blood pressure
Blueberries has very low odium which increases blood pressure and has a significant amount of potassium which helps lower blood pressure by reducing tension in blood vessel walls and lessens the effects of sodium.
4. Helps Manage diabetes
Blueberries contains high level of fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.Studies have found that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have low blood glucose levels, and people with type 2 diabetes who consume the same may have improved blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels.
5. Heart Health
Blueberries contain fiber,potassium,folate,vitamin C,vitamin B6 and phytonutrient content which are essential for the heart health. Fiber helps to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. Excessive buildup of homocysteine in the body can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.
6. Prevents cancer risk
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and the various phytonutrients in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants that may help protect cells against damage from disease-linked free radicals.Blueberries also contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This can prevent the formation of cancer cells due to mutations in the DNA. Research suggests that antioxidants may inhibit tumor growth, decrease inflammation in the body, and help ward off or slow down esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate, and colon cancers.
7. Improves mental health
The anthocyanin, the selenium, the vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, the zinc, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese etc., among others, can prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons, brain-cells and also by restoring health of the central nervous system. Studies have also found that in addition to reducing the risk of cognitive damage, blueberries can also improve a person’s short-term memory and motor coordination.
8. Aids in digestion and weight loss
Fiber in blueberries helps in digestion and prevent constipation by adding bulk to the digestive material helping regulate bowel movement. Fiber also lowers the belly emptying this leads to the feeling of being full
9. Aids in vision
Blueberries contain anthocyanosides which has been found to slow down visual loss. They can prevent or delay all age related ocular problems like macular degeneration, cataract,myopia and hypermetropia, dryness and infections, particularly those pertaining to retina, due to their anti-oxidant properties.
Blue Berries contain a special group of anti oxidants called Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin etc.), Flavonoids (like rutin, resveritrol, quercetin etc.), in addition to others such as vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, selenium, zinc and phosphorus, which are very beneficial and essential for the ocular health.
10. Urinary Tract Health
The building of colonies of certain bacteria like b-coli along the lining of the inner walls of urinary tract is responsible for this infection, resulting in inflammation, burning sensation during in passage of urine and other complications. Here, Blue Berries can be surprisingly beneficial. It has a compound formed of big polymer like heavy molecules which inhibits the growth of such bacteria. It also has some anti biotic properties which adds to this effect. These heavy and big molecules almost wash-off these bacteria along the tract, thereby preventing the infection.
11. Improving mental health
Population-based studies have shown that consumption of blueberries is connected to slower cognitive decline in older women. Studies have also found that in addition to reducing the risk of cognitive damage, blueberries can also improve a person’s short-term memory and motor coordination.
12. Blueberries are the King of Antioxidant Foods Antioxidants are important.
They protect our bodies from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a large family of polyphenols, called flavonoids. One group of flavonoids in particular, anthocyanins, is thought to be responsible for much of the beneficial health effects. They have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels inside the body.
13. Blueberries Reduce DNA Damage, Which May Help Protect Against Ageing and Cancer
Oxidative DNA damage is part of everyday life. It is said to occur tens of thousands of times per day, in every single cell in the body. DNA damage is part of the reason we grow older, and it also plays an important role in the development of diseases like cancer. Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they can help neutralize some of the free radicals that cause damage to our DNA.
In one 4-week study, 168 participants were instructed to drink 1 liter (34 ounces) of a mixture of blueberry and apple juice, every day. At the end of the study, oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals was reduced by 20%. These findings have also been supported by smaller studies using either fresh or powdered blueberries.
14. Blood Sugar Control
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide. People with diabetes are sensitive to rapid changes in blood sugar, and need to be cautious when they eat foods rich in carbohydrates. Blueberries contain moderate amounts of sugar, at 15 grams per cup. They do not have adverse effects on blood sugar levels, which may be due to their high content of bioactive compounds.
Test tube studies suggest that the anthocyanins in blueberries can have beneficial effects on blood sugar control. Human studies have also shown promising results. One study found that two blueberry smoothies a day for six weeks helped improve insulin sensitivity in obese people who were at a high risk of developing diabetes. Blueberries may also affect blood sugar levels directly after a high-carb meal by blocking certain digestive enzymes and reducing blood sugar spikes.
Health Benefits of Blueberries vs. Blackberries vs. Raspberries
There are tons of berry varieties out there. From the bilberry to the strawberry to the Indian gooseberry, it can get a little confusing when you’re standing in the produce aisle wondering which one you should add to your cart. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are three of the most common berries, and it can be easy to get them confused. They’re all small, dark and jam-packed with antioxidants and important nutrients.
Raspberries and blackberries share the most similarities in appearance as they belong to the same family of plants. Both have many single cells that protrude to create a bumpy appearance, but the blackberry is generally larger with cells that tend to bulge more than raspberries. Raspberries can also range in color from a dark red to a deep purple color comparable to blackberries.
There are, however, many differences that set these three types of berries apart. Raspberries and blackberries usually have a tart flavor while blueberries are much sweeter. Nutritionally speaking, blackberries are the lowest in calories per gram and contain the most vitamin K. Raspberries are highest in vitamin C and contain nearly 2.5 times the amount of fiber as blueberries. Meanwhile, blueberries have been shown to have a higher antioxidant capacity than blackberries.
Because of these minute differences in nutrition, the health benefits of blackberries may differ from the benefits of raspberries or blueberries. However, they can all be healthy dietary additions and help promote better health. Include all three in your diet, and take advantage of the unique health benefits provided by each.
Where to Find and How to Use Blueberries
Wild blueberries grow across Southern Canada and along the East Coast of the United States in low-spreading bushes, known as lowbush blueberries. There are also other varieties grown and cultivated all around the world, from Europe to Asia to Australia and beyond. Blueberry harvest season typically falls in May through mid-August, although this can vary based on your location and the type of blueberries near you.
When picking blueberries, they should be ripe enough that they are blue and require just a light touch to pick. Be sure to wash them thoroughly before savoring the sweet flavor.
If there aren’t any blueberry plants growing near you, though, fear not. These days, you likely won’t run into any trouble finding a pint of blueberries on the shelf at your local grocery store. You can also find both regular and wild blueberries in the frozen fruit section of many stores as well. Opt for organic when possible as conventional blueberries are often laden with harmful pesticides. Growing blueberries is also an option, and blueberry bushes grow best when adding peat moss to the soil.
You can add blueberries to just about any recipe to kick up the sweetness. Try them in pancakes or baked goods to ramp up the antioxidant content of your dish. Alternatively, try sprinkling them over oatmeal or yogurt, or enjoy them as is for a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
How to Select and Store
Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform hue colored with a whitish bloom. Shake the container, noticing whether the berries have the tendency to move freely; if they do not, this may indicate that they are soft and damaged or moldy. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. They should be free from moisture since the presence of water will cause the berries to decay. When purchasing frozen berries, shake the bag gently to ensure that the berries move freely and are not clumped together, which may suggest that they have been thawed and refrozen. Blueberries that are cultivated in the United States are generally available from May through October while imported berries may be found at other times of the year.
I encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and blueberries is no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including blueberries. In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells blueberries but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown blueberries is very likely to be blueberries that displays the USDA organic logo.
Before storing remove any crushed or moldy berries to prevent the rest from spoiling. Don’t wash berries until right before eating as washing will remove the bloom that protects the berries’ skins from degradation. Store ripe blueberries in a covered container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 days. If kept out at room temperature for more than a day, the berries may spoil.
Here is some background on why we recommend refrigerating blueberries. Whenever food is stored, four basic factors affect its nutrient composition: exposure to air, exposure to light, exposure to heat, and length of time in storage. Vitamin C and carotenoids are good example of heat-susceptible nutrients, and their loss from food is very likely to be slowed down through refrigeration.
Blueberries can be frozen. Before freezing, wash, drain, and remove any damaged berries. To better ensure uniform texture upon thawing, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet or baking pan, place in the freezer until frozen, then put the berries in a sealed plastic bag or sealed container for storage in the freezer. You can expect to see slight changes in texture and flavor after freezing.
The impact of freezing on blueberry phytonutrient content has been a topic of special interest in food research. One recent study on frozen versus fresh blueberries suggests that while frozen blueberries may still provide us with great nutrient benefits, there may be some important nutritional advantages related to consumption of blueberries in their fresh form. When comparing the total antioxidant capacity of fresh versus frozen blueberries, 6 months of freezing (0°F/-18°C) were found to result in no decrease in overall antioxidant potential in this fruit.
However, changes were found to occur in the phytonutrient composition of the berries after freezing. Among all of the phenolic phytonutrients present in fresh blueberries, between 18-34% consist of flavonoids. Among these flavonoids are anthocyanins that contribute to the gorgeous deep colors of this fruit. After six months of freezing, total anthocyanins in the berries were found to be degraded by about 59%. Some of the anthocyanins—for example, pelargonidin—remained almost completely intact. But other anthocyanins like delphinidin were found to be overwhelmingly degraded.
So how did the blueberries still retain their overall antioxidant capacity despite this degrading of certain anthocyanins? The authors speculated that the anthocyanins most likely reacted with other phenolic phytonutrients in the blueberries (resulting in the creation of new compounds) or were simply degraded through oxidation. Since the total antioxidant potential was well-retained in the frozen berries, we can see how this form of the fruit might be a good option when fresh berries are not available (or when the convenience of frozen berries is a top priority). However, since the health benefits of anthocyanins like delphinidin are well-documented in research studies, fresh berries may still be providing us with some key benefits that aren’t as robust in frozen berries.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Blueberries
Fresh berries are very fragile and should be washed briefly and carefully and then gently patted dry if they are not organic. Wash berries just prior to use to not prematurely remove the protective bloom that resides on the skin’s surface. If you know the source of either wild or organic berries try not to wash them at all. When using frozen berries in recipes that do not require cooking, thaw well and drain prior to using.
Blueberries retain their maximum amount of nutrients and their maximum taste when they are enjoyed fresh and not prepared in a cooked recipe. That is because their nutrients – including vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes – undergo damage when exposed to temperatures (350°F/175°C and higher) used in baking.
Quick Serving Ideas For Blueberries
- Add frozen blueberries to your breakfast shake. If the blender container is plastic, allow berries a few minutes to soften, so they will not damage the blender.
- Fresh or dried blueberries add a colorful punch to cold breakfast cereals.
- For a deliciously elegant dessert, layer yogurt and blueberries in wine glasses and top with crystallized ginger.
How To Eat Blueberries
Adding blueberries to your day in any form is great! Swap these unsweetened treats for dried fruit in salads and sautés; use them in homemade smoothies; pep up cereals, pancakes, and desserts; upgrade your sparkling water or unsweetened tea with frozen bluebs; or eat them on their own for maximum health benefits.
To take full advantage of the many health benefits of blueberries, just whip out a bowl and enjoy — no other ingredients required. If you’re looking to mix it up, however, there are plenty of delicious ways to incorporate blueberries into your favorite recipes. Give a few of these blueberries recipes a try to get started:
Pumpkin Blueberry Pancakes Recipe
- 1 cup Paleo flour blend
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine wet ingredients in a bowl
- Whisk in dry ingredients carefully to avoid clumping
- Stir in blueberries
- Heat greased pan over medium heat
- Pour approximately 1/3 cups of batter per pancake until pan is full
- Cook until bubbles form on top of batter and begin to pop, flip and repeat cooking
- Serve warm with blueberries and maple syrup
Blueberry Pudding Recipe
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup kefir
- 3 avocados
- 1 cup blueberries
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds, ground
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 drop peppermint oil extract
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender.
- Refrigerate and serve cold.
Omega Blueberry Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup blueberries
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon sprouted flax meal
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until a smooth texture is reached.
Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins Recipe
- 2 cups almond flour
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee, melted
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda and sea salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, honey, vanilla and coconut oil/ghee.
- Combine both mixtures together. Once well incorporated, add blueberries and mix.
- Fill a muffin pan with liners. Fill each liner with batter.
- Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes
Healthy Blueberry Cobbler Recipe
- 3 cups washed blueberries
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup butter, soft
- Drop of almond extract
- 3 tbsp flax-meal whisked with 9 tbsp warm water, allowed to plump up for 5 minutes
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (to be added last)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease an 8×8 glass dish with coconut oil.
- Pour the Blueberries in pan, reserving a few berries for the top if you wish.
- Whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
- Separately, whisk together butter, honey, and extract.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients together, stirring in the flax. Once well combined, quickly stir in cider vinegar.
- Pour batter onto berries, spreading up to the edges.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes.
- 2 recipes Processor Tart Dough
- 3 1/2 c. blueberries
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. seedless blueberry jam
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest
- 2 kiwis
- confectioners’ sugar
- Julienned strips lime zest
- Divide two recipes-worth of tart dough into 4 pieces. Press evenly over bottoms and sides of four 4 1/2-inch round tart pans with removable bottoms. Prick each with fork; freeze 15 minutes.
- Place oven rack in bottom position; heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss 2 1/2 cups of the blueberries, granulated sugar, jam, lime juice, and lime zest. Fill shells with berry mixture; place on baking sheet.
- Bake until crust is golden and fruit is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
- Cool tarts in pans on wire rack. Remove sides of pans. Top tarts with 1 cup blueberries and kiwi slices. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with lime zest.
3 Ways to Make a Healthy and Delicious Smoothie
The key to a good-for-you smoothie — in addition to a high-powered blender, of course — is packing in nutrient-heavy fruits, veggies, and liquids.
We know, we know … that ain’t always cheap! Make sure nothing goes to waste by storing your ingredients in freezer-safe bags or containers, that way you can keep them in the freezer for up to 9 months. Stick to fresh apples, avocados, and peaches, though — they oxidize and lose their vitamins when exposed to air.
Note that smoothies WILL separate within a few hours in the refrigerator, so best to blend everything up and drink ASAP. If you’re really in a pinch, blend a double batch and store the second smoothie in an air-tight container like a mason jar ($6 for 2, amazon.com). Add a teaspoon of lemon juice before placing it in the fridge to prevent oxidation. Drink all pre-made smoothies within 24 hours for max goodness.
each smoothie here is under 250 calories! Simply add the ingredients ahead to your blender of your choice and let it do the heavy lifting.
What you’ll need:
- Blender — try our top pick!
- Measuring cup
- Tall glasses
- Straws, optional
Mix 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup ice, and 1 cup water. Berries — especially frozen berries during winter — are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C, which help boost immunity.
Bloat Buster Smoothie
Blend 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 cups spinach, 1 banana, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 cup frozen mango, and 1 cup ice for a spicy, green smoothie. Out of the spinach and bananas you’ll get potassium and magnesium, which counter-balance the bloat-inducing effects of salt. Plus, fresh ginger is known to soothe the stomach.
Energy Booster Smoothie
Combine 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 banana, 1 scoop matcha powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup pineapple for a creamy and caffeinated blend. Matcha has caffeine and L-theanine, a compound that helps to boost serotonin and that feeling of “zen” relaxation.
Is the frozen kind just as good?
Berries make for deliciously sweet, satisfying, and nutrient-packed snacks regardless of season. How? Farmers flash-freeze berries at the peak of the summer harvest (often within hours of when they’re picked!) to maximize health benefits and retain optimal flavor.
Negative Effects Of Blueberries
High in fiber, potassium and vitamins A and K, blueberries pack a nutritional punch. Unfortunately, in some cases they can have side effects, including gastrointestinal distress, hypoglycemia and an increased risk of bleeding if you are taking some prescription medications. If you’re healthy, eating blueberries as part of a balanced diet is not likely to cause side effects. However, if you have an underlying health condition, check with your doctor before adding them to your diet.
Blueberries contain very high amounts of salicylates — the active ingredient in aspirin which is also found naturally in many plants — which can cause side effects in people who are sensitive to salicylates. For those who can’t tolerate salicylates, blueberries might cause a rash, headaches or a host of gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, reflux, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. Blueberry juice is especially high in salicylates. Eating blueberries in small amounts may ease some of the pain and discomfort associated with the ingestion of salicylates.
Blueberries contain 29 micrograms of vitamin K per one-cup serving, making them a “medium” vitamin K food. Vitamin K performs a number of important functions in the body, including regulating blood clotting and maintaining bone density. People who take prescription blood thinners are generally encouraged to keep bloodstream levels of vitamin K the same from day to day. Suddenly increasing or decreasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin K, such as blueberries, without asking your doctor to make changes to prescription blood-thinner dosages can lead to an increased risk of bleeding.
Hypoglycemia from Blueberry Leaves
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, taking blueberry leaves as a supplement can cause a dangerous drop in blood-sugar levels. Always check with your doctor before adding any supplements, including blueberry leaves, and monitor your blood sugar carefully. Eating blueberries, the fruit, is likely safe for people with diabetes and a 1-cup serving of blueberries contains 21 grams of carbohydrates.
Adding Blueberries to Your Diet
Unless you have an underlying health condition, blueberries are unlikely to cause serious side effects. In fact, when eaten in moderation, blueberries can play an important role in a balanced diet. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, adults should aim for between one and a half and two servings of fruit, such as blueberries, each day. Consider adding blueberries to hot or cold breakfast cereals, or blend them into a smoothie for a quick snack on the go. You can also toss blueberries in salads, bake them in desserts, or add them to soups and side dishes.
Too Much Fiber Is Bad For Our Health
Blueberries are a good source of dietary fibers that provides a lot of benefits like regulates bowel movement, provides relief from constipation, keep the digestive system healthy, absorbs bad cholesterol, keep cardiovascular system healthy, helps in weight management and many more benefits. The presence of dietary fibers in blueberries make it very beneficial for our health but having too much of fiber is bad for our health.
Excess of dietary fiber can cause stomach discomfort, gastrointestinal problems like bloating, flatulence, diarrhea etc. It can also hamper the absorption of nutrients by our intestines and give rise to many health problems. Because of this risk associated with high fiber, it is advisable to eat blueberries in moderate quantity.
Can Cause Salicylate Sensitivity In Some Individuals
Blueberries contain a high amount of salicylates, which is an active ingredient used in the formation of aspirin ( a synthesized medicine used for providing relief from pain, fever, inflammation etc.). This compound is naturally found in many plants and provides a lot of benefits, but not for the individuals who are sensitive to salicylates.
The individuals who are allergic to salicylates should stay away from blueberries ( which contains them in high amount) as it might cause rashes, headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. So those who are allergic to salicylates should avoid consuming blueberries or blueberries juice.
It is interesting to note that pain and discomfort associated with salicylates ingestion can be eased to some extent by eating blueberries in a small amount. However,it is better to not to take risk and avoid blueberries in the first place ( in case of salicylate allergy )
Side Effect Of Vitamin K Overdose
Blueberries is a good source of Vitamin K and eating one cup of blueberries provide around 29 micrograms of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a vital nutrients that plays an important role in keeping us healthy and performs a number of functions in our body, like regulates blood clotting, improving bone density and making our bones stronger, reducing risk of cancer, providing cardiovascular benefits etc
Although Vitamin K provides a lot of benefits but there are some side effects associated with intake of high dosage of Vitamin K and for this reason, it is advisable to eat blueberries in moderation.
High dosage of Vitamin K may give rise to symptoms like difficulty in swallowing, irregular breathing, fainting, shortness of breath, skin rashes, increased risk of internal bleeding and bruising etc (source). Blueberries are also not suitable for the individuals who on anticoagulant medicines as the Vitamin K present in blueberries may interfere the function of anticoagulant medicine and increase the risk of bleeding.
Blueberry Leaves May Cause Hypoglycemia
If you are suffering from diabetes then it is advisable to not to use blueberries leaves as a supplement to diabetics medicine. This is because consuming blueberries leaves can decrease our blood sugar level to a dangerously low level which can give rise to hypoglycemia which can be identified by the common symptoms like blurred vision,sudden mood change, sudden nervousness,pale skin, headache, hunger, sweating,shaking,trouble thinking or concentrating, loss of consciousness etc. (source).
Moderate consumption of blueberries is beneficial for the people suffering from diabetes as it releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream and doesn’t cause a sudden increase in the blood sugar level. But, consuming too many blueberries is bad as it can also decrease our blood sugar level to a dangerously low level. If you are suffering from diabetes then it is better to first consult your doctor and eat blueberries as per the advice of the doctor.
Not Suitable For Individuals With Stone Fruits Allergy
Generally speaking, there are not many allergenic factors associated with blueberries and blueberries are well tolerated by most individuals. This means that most of the individuals can consume it without worrying about allergic reactions. However, those who are allergic to stone fruits ( like peaches, plums,apricots,cherries,nectarines etc) may be sensitive to blueberries too.
Too Many Blueberries Is Unsafe For Pregnant Women
Blueberry is a good source of a number of vitamins,minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, phytochemicals etc. and the presence of these compounds make blueberries very beneficial for pregnant women. In general, blueberries is a safe fruit to be consumed during pregnancy but for a safe side, it is advisable to consult your doctor about the same and eat blueberries only as per the recommendation of the doctor. The food and drink consumed by pregnant mother play an important role in determining the proper growth and development of baby growing under her ( and even for her own health ) and for this reason, it becomes important to consult with your doctor before adding ( or removing ) anything to your food plate.
Too Many Blueberries Is Unsafe For Nursing Mothers
Moderate consumption of blueberries is safe and beneficial for pregnant mothers but the high consumption of blueberries must be avoided. This is because although blueberries are a good source of a number of vitamins,minerals,antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, carotenoids etc. and the presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for our health. but, too much of some of these compounds ( Like Vitamin K , potassium, dietary fiber etc) is bad for our health and there are some side effects associated with it.
Blueberries And Surgery
Blueberries contain a high amount of salicylates which acts as a natural blood thinner. In addition to this, the Vitamin K present in blueberries dissolves blood clot. Because of these properties of blueberries, they are not suitable for individuals who are scheduled to go under the knife.
It is advisable to stop consuming blueberries at least two weeks before the scheduled surgery as otherwise it may take surgical wounds very long time to heal ( because of blood thinning properties of blueberries). Another reason to stop eating blueberries weeks before surgery is because of the ability of blueberries to affect our blood glucose level and interfere control of blood sugar after and during the surgery.
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