Fruit Facts: Blueberries

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on November 14, 2011

Little, blue, tasty and good for you — the blueberry is one of nature's treasures. Not only are they delightful atop your morning cereal or baked inside a pie, but blueberries also possess many health benefits. Blueberries are too good to overlook. In the rare case you need a little nudge to indulge, check out these fruit facts.

Simple pleasures. Blueberries are ripe in the summer — around July in most places — a great time to take advantage of pick-your-own berry patches. Don't have a blueberry patch near you? No worries. Blueberries can be found year-round at most neighborhood grocery stores. In order to get the best of the bushel, select plump-looking berries that are deeply bluish grey in color. If a berry is white or light green, it's not yet ripe. Blueberries that are wrinkled up like raisins or are mushy instead of firm have gone bad and are past their prime. Store blueberries in the refrigerator, and they should last a week or longer. Freeze blueberries for longer storage, but keep in mind that they'll lose their fresh texture. Since blueberries don't need chopping, peeling or much of any preparation, they're simple to use in cooking or just eating by the handful.

Nutritious blueberries. Blueberries are full of antioxidant power to fight aging, cancer and heart disease. WebMD states that blueberries rank number one in antioxidant power compared to any other fruit. One cup offers 14 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber and almost a quarter of the daily recommended vitamin C requirement. Blueberries are low in calories, but high in nutrients. One cup of blueberries has fewer than 100 calories. Thanks to the anthocyanin — another excellent antioxidant — blueberries have a lovely hue and a healthy advantage. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cites research that eating blueberries regularly may improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure by as much as 10 percent and offer many other health benefits, thanks to those anthocyanins.