Friday, July 25, 2008

The Power of the Blueberry

This past week I had the opportunity to visit my dad, who lives about one hour from my house. Thanks to my mom who was an organic gardener before it was cool, he has several blueberry bushes in his yard. This year has brought a bumper crop of blueberries. Within about one hour, we were able to pick around two quarts. To me there is nothing better than to be able to eat a fresh picked blueberry. Especially, one which I know has not been sprayed with any pesticides or fungicides. In fact, these bushes are so organically grown we had to cut an invasive grape vine off them.

For a fruit to be so small, the blueberry packs a powerful punch. Not only is it a great tasting fruit, but it also brings with it some great nutritional benefits. When eaten whole in their raw form, the mighty blueberry provides antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins E, A, and C. There is a lot in the news in nutritional world about the advantages of getting antioxidants into your diet. Research has found that antioxidants help to delay or prevent free radical cells in your body from developing into cancer. Free radical cells are present in everyone’s body. Some are produced naturally by our body, while others can enter through our respiratory system. These free radical cells can be in the form of cigarette smoke, pollution, or breathing chemicals in our cleaning products.

Other health benefits have been found to include anti-aging properties. Studies have found that eating blueberries may help with better memory performance. This is a plus for anyone with memory loss or in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have shown the lowering of LDL Cholesterol, which can reduce the incidence of stroke and heart disease. This could be in part due to blueberries are low in fat and high in fiber content. One cup of blueberries contains less than ½ gram of fat and over 3 ½ grams of fiber.

So when you are selecting fresh fruits at the market, blueberries should be at the top of your shopping list. Eating a cup is an all around good choice.

Source: US Highbush Blueberry Council

In no way is this information to replace any medical advice from you physician

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