Blueberries have a wonderful sweet taste, plus they’re even “color coded” to let you know when they’re ready to eat. They are one of the few fruits that are indigenous to North America, and they’ve been enjoyed for centuries.
Blueberries were treasured by Native Americans long before the colonial settlers arrived. Native Indians gathered and dried blueberries as one of the ways to last through the winter. They also taught the first colonists how to harvest them. Modern science now understands some of the wonderful benefits of this tiny yet power-packed fruit.
Low in fat
Blueberries are low in fat. Three quarters of a cup contains 60 calories and also includes about 10 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 25 percent of the daily recommendation.
That same amount also packs 2.7 grams of daily fiber. Vitamin C plays a role in protecting the immune system, and cardiovascular system.
Blueberries contain additional compounds called anthocyanosides (also called anthocyanins.)
These compounds control the pigment of blueberries and have been studied for many years with regard to improved vision and vision loss. Studies have shown benefits in patients with cataracts and some eye infections.
Blueberries treat infections
The anthocyanosides in blueberries have also been proven to be as effective as cranberries as a preventative and as a treatment for urinary tract infections. These compounds, found in both blueberries and cranberries, inhibit bacteria from adhering to the bladder walls, which cause the infection.
These are some of the ways that a handful of blueberries can benefit the body. But can they also improve your mind? Blueberries and brain function have been studied in animals for many years. Scientists tested blueberries to treat object recognition memory loss and other cognitive skills in rats. They concluded it could be treated, prevented, and even reversed. Early studies with human test subjects have shown promise as well.
All in moderation
The best time of the year for blueberries is early July through early August. July is National Blueberry Month (USA.) When they are not in season, you can find frozen blueberries at most grocery stores.
There are so many good reasons to eat blueberries and new discoveries are happening daily. Of course, too much of a good thing is possible.
Since blueberries are high in fiber, eating too much could cause some digestive discomforts. They also contain oxalates. This is one substance that contributes to kidney stone formation.
Anyone who has a problem with breaking down oxalates or has a history of kidney stones should be aware of this. Those individuals should check with their doctor about the frequency that they can indulge in blueberries or if they should have them at all. Most people should have no problems and will benefit greatly by adding blueberries to a healthy eating plan.