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Discover the Many Benefits of the Blueberry

Blueberries are hardly a rare, exotic fruit, but you may not be familiar with all their healthful characteristics. Keep reading to learn more.

When was the last time you had a blueberry? It may have been in fruit salad over the weekend or even this morning with your breakfast. No matter how you like them, blueberries are an amazing superfruit worth enjoying.

Blueberry Basics

Blueberries are native to North America, where they have grown on a perennial flowering plant (Vaccinium angustifolium) in the wild for centuries, according to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. They grow between April and September, with June and July being the top months for harvest. Ever since farmers began growing them for sale, blueberries have been a favorite for their sweet and tangy flavor and size perfect for snacking or adding to dishes.

Reasons to Enjoy More Blueberries

There are many reasons to add blueberries to your daily diet and supplement routine. First of all, they're rich in vitamin C. One serving of blueberries -- about 1 cup -- provides more than 20 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports the immune system as well as healthy skin.

The second reason to try blueberries is that they provide antioxidants. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting the cells of the body against the damage of free radicals and oxidative stress. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol, which are antioxidants that also give the blueberries their deep color. Antioxidants fight aging throughout the body, both inside and out. A 2013 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reported daily consumption of wild blueberry juice for six weeks improved resistance to oxidative damage in males at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Third, blueberries contain fiber -- about 14 percent of your recommended daily amount per serving to be exact. Fiber is needed for proper function of the digestive system, keeping you regular. Fiber also helps keep the cholesterol in check for a healthy heart.

Lastly, blueberries have shown promise when it comes to memory in published studies. Those same anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory benefits. Blueberry supplements showed positive effects on memory and cognitive behavior in a study published in 2010 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

If you want to add more blueberries to your diet, here are five delicious serving suggestions for you:

  1. Mix them into your salad with a variety of greens.
  2. Blend blueberries into a smoothie with Greek yogurt, a banana and almond milk.
  3. Sprinkle some blueberries onto toast with peanut butter.
  4. Mix smashed blueberries into your morning oatmeal or cereal.
  5. Create a fruit salad with blueberries, watermelon and fresh mint.

Blueberry Supplements

In addition to consuming whole blueberries and blueberry juice, you can try a blueberry supplement. Blueberry extracts are available in liquid and pill form (capsules or tablets) of varying strengths for regular consumption. Blueberry is also commonly added to superfood and even green food blends.

Blueberry supplements may affect blood sugar levels. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, don't take blueberry supplements. Stop taking blueberries supplements at least two weeks prior to having surgery. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn't take a blueberry supplement (or any nutritional supplement) unless under the advisement or supervision of their doctor.
About The Author
Dr. Matt Marturano, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician and received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and also has a dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. In addition, Dr. Marturano currently is a member of the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is the Director of Recruitment - Integrative Medicine for Orchid Holistic Search.
Legal Disclaimer:
eVitamins recommends that you do not rely on the information presented in this article as diagnosis for treatment to any health claim. Content and information on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. The information and statements in this article have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. eVitamins assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements.
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