Summer is reminiscent of vacations, fireworks, picnics and pies. And what picnic is complete without a colorful splash of blueberries? Summer is winding down, so don't miss out! These tangy, sweet fruits are packed with vitamins A, C, K; fiber, manganese, iron, and antioxidants. Blueberries are at the top of the list in antioxidant activity, according to the USDA Human Nutrition Center.
Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America, and in earlier days were known as Huckleberries. Their health benefits are due to the unique assortment of phytochemicals, including various anthocyanins and resveratrol.
Results from the Women's Health Study suggests the women who consume a diet high in anthocyanins have a significantly reduced risk of developing heart disease. Decreased inflammation and platelet aggregation, and increased flexibility on the blood vessels have been confirmed as the protective role of anthocyanins in heart disease and cholesterol management. Mainstream research has produce evidence supporting the effectiveness of these antioxidants as a potential for cancer, dementia and Alzheimer's prevention, and are linked to urinary tract, heart, and vision health.
Fresh blueberries are the first choice, though frozen berries are just as nutritious and are more practical in pies and baked goods, and are available year 'round. The jury is still out when it comes to organic foods in general, but do go for the organics when purchasing berries of any variety. These particular fruits tend to hold onto and concentrate toxins when exposed to them. This is particularly important for small children.
~ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009