The Health Benefits of Blueberries

Nutrient Dense and Delicious

When it comes to clean eating and nutrient dense food choices, blueberries are at the top of the list. They’re a really good source of fiber, manganese, vitamins C, K, and a great source of antioxidants. Berries have been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, supporting beneficial blood pressure levels, and to help improve insulin sensitivity. There is also evidence that eating blueberries can be supportive for cognitive health.

Another very important health benefit of eating blueberries is their high levels of pterostilbene and resveratrol. These are referred to as stilbenoids and this class of phytonutrient has been shown to be chemoprotective as well as to have tumor suppressant properties. In other words, these compounds may help lower your risk for getting cancer.

And, last but certainly not least, blueberries are also a low glycemic fruit. So not only are they tasty and nutrient dense, they have a lot of reasons to make them a healthy choice to add to your diet. Like many summer fruits, they do freeze well. This means you can buy them fresh in season (which is also less expensive) and freeze them to enjoy later.

Dirty Dozen Warning

Blueberries areoften found on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. This list highlights the 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely to retain high levels of pesticide residue. Chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic, neurotoxins, suspected hormone disruptors, and other toxins that are potential developmental or reproductive hazards. Some of the pesticides used are also known to be bad for honey bees.

These toxic pesticides cannot simply be washed off. The only way to avoid them is to buy produce that is grown without using them. Fortunately the rules of organic farming prohibit the use of these pesticides. So in order to avoid this type of chemical contamination it is recommended that you purchase Dirty Dozen produce items as organic rather than conventional.

One additional benefit of buying organic blueberries is that studies have shown those that are organically grown are higher in antioxidants and flavonoids. Another reason that organic is the healthier choice.

Recipes

Although they’re certainly delicious by the handful or sprinkled onto a salad or a dessert, blueberries can be added to a number of recipes. Here are two of my favorites to get you started.

Blueberry Flax Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls are a wonderful way to eat a smoothie. Rather than sucking it through a straw, you can add some crunchy, tasty bits to the top and eat it with a spoon. It’s also a great alternative to ice cream. Adding a coconut oil and the handful of spinach bumps up the nutrition just a bit. This recipe makes two servings, one for you and one to share.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • small handful of organic baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoon ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen
  • Toppings:

    2 tampons cacao nibs

    1 teaspoon goji berries

    1 teaspoon coconut flakes, uncultured and unsweetened

    1 teaspoon hemp seeds

    few blueberries

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients into a high-power blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined. If needed add a little more coconut milk, or water, to continue blending.
  • Pour the mixture into two bowls and sprinkle with toppings.

Gluten Free Blueberry Coffee Cake

Coffee cake is a tasty afternoon snack. Perfect when visiting with a friend or as part of an afternoon snack. Not too sweet, this recipe is also a wonderful addition to a Sunday brunch board. For a refreshing twist add lemon zest instead of cinnamon for the topping.

Equipment

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
grease and flour a 9 x 9 baking pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour


  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour (if needed you can blend old fashioned oats in the blender to make a flour from them)


  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice crystals
  • 
1 teaspoon baking powder


  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  • 1 cup blueberries


  • 4 tablespoons butter, cold


  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 
1 large egg


  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • topping:

    1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/2 cup evaporated cane juice crystals

    1/4 cup chopped walnuts

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Mix together all of the dried ingredients

  • Shred butter into flour mixture using the large side of a box grater

  • Mix butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs

  • Add blueberries and toss well to coat
  • 
In a separate bowl mix together yogurt, almond milk, egg, and extract, blend well

  • Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and quickly blend together, do not over mix the batter
  • 
In a separate bowl mix together topping ingredients

  • Spread topping evenly on the coffee cake
  • 
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the coffee cake springs back lightly when tapped

  • Remove from oven and cool
  • 
Serve warm or room temperature

Don’t forget to check out more tasty blueberry recipes below
July national blueberry month
Blueberry Mojito Mocktail

Sources

Kosuru R, Rai U, Prakash S, et al. Promising therapeutic potential of pterostilbene and its mechanistic insight based on preclinical evidence. European Journal of Pharmacology, Volume 789, 15 October 2016, pages 229-243.
Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA et al. Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 April 14; 58(7): 3996-4000. 2010.
Kursvietiene L, Staneviciene I, Mongirdiene A, et al. Multiplicity of effects and health benefits of resveratrol. Medicina, Volume 52, Issue 3, 2016, pages 148-155.
Mayumi, D, et al. Effects of blueberry and cranberry consumption on type 2 diabetes glycemic control: A systematic review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 13 Feb 2018. 59:11, 1816-1828
Miller, K, et al. Bioactive Compounds of Strawberry and Blueberry and Their Potential Health Effects Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1510.
USDA Food Data Central - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/786762/nutrients
Wang, SY, et al. Fruit Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, and Flavonoid Content of Organically and Conventionally Grown Blueberries. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2008, 56, 14, 5788–5794. Publication Date:July 1, 2008.
What’s On My Food - http://whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=BB
Wood, E, et al. Blueberries and cardiovascular disease prevention.