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You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten ripe, juicy, and freshly picked blueberries. In case you think I’m joking, I’m not. There are few foods as tasty as such. When blueberries turn ripe and in season (which is right now), they taste as sweet as candy! But the good news is, unlike candy, blueberries don’t just taste delicious. Blueberries are packed with nutrients and provide various health benefits!
The jaw-dropping nutrition facts of blueberries are undeniable. They are low in calories and sugar, while high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In fact, they are one of the most nutritious and antioxidant rich fruits in the world! What more could you ask for?
Antioxidants are known to fight oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and prevent disease. Like other berries, blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, including phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
Blueberries contain impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as various B vitamins, as well as vitamin C, E, and K. You can also find manganese, copper, and zinc in raw blueberries.
Fiber is an important part of digestion and bowel movements. Luckily, blueberries provide a healthy dose of fiber to your diet. For example: 1 cup of raw blueberries contains almost 4g of fiber. While this doesn’t meet the recommended daily intake for fiber, it’s a great start!
Unlike many other fruits, blueberries are low in sugar, which is great news for stabilizing blood sugar. In addition to their fiber content, low amounts of sugar prevent blood sugar spikes, which is essential for overall health.
The impressive nutrition facts of blueberries provide some pretty sweet health benefits, too. See what I did there? From your heart to your brain, blueberries are a delicious superfood!
First and foremost, blueberries offer plenty of anti-inflammatory properties. This is arguably the most important health benefit of blueberries, as most disease stems from chronic inflammation. Blueberries aid in reducing inflammation by providing high doses of potent antioxidants (more on this below).
Ladies, if you’ve ever suffered from an UTI, you know just how unbearable the pain and discomfort is. Over the years, cranberries have gained quite the reputation for UTI prevention, but blueberries have actually proven to fight off the bacteria that cause UTIs. Isn’t that great news?
Raise your hand if you could use a brain boost! Nowadays, any and all brain support seems to be welcomed with open arms. Turns out, blueberries might be one of the best brain foods around. In fact, after 12 weeks of regular blueberry consumption, cognitive performance improved in older adults. In addition, blueberries help slow down oxidative stress, which is associated with poor cognitive function.
Unfortunately, heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in the U.S. Heart disease can be sneaky and often goes undiagnosed, but undoubtedly, heart health is a top priority. Blueberries are rich in polyphenols- specifically anthocyanin, which is associated with improved heart health. According to 3 cohort studies, “a higher anthocyanin intake was associated with an ~25% reduced risk of coronary artery disease, including fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction.”
If you’ve been around me (or my social media) for awhile, you know how much I value optimal gut health. As we know, gut health is the root of all health, so supporting a healthy gut isn’t just ideal- it’s imperative. Blueberries have actually been shown to improve gut microbiota by increasing good gut bacteria, and as a result, reducing inflammation.
Blueberries are scrumptious all by themselves. But, they can also be a nutrient-dense part of a balanced meal. Below are my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries, daily:
Clearly, blueberries serve an important purpose in a healthy diet. While you can typically find them at your local grocery store, I encourage you to seek out organic blueberries from your local farmer. Locally-sourced blueberries that are in season are often richer in nutrients, juicier and tastier, and more affordable.
What’s your favorite way to include blueberries in your diet?
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
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