The Bountiful Benefits of Blueberries

The North American Blueberry Council has dubbed the month of July “National Blueberry Month” in the United States(Blueberry Month is August for our Canadian upstairs neighbors). In honor of that, let’s take a moment to extol the health benefits of this superfood.

If the label “superfood” confuses you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. As this Natural News article explains, there is no legally accepted definition of a superfood. Basically, a superfood is food packed with nutrients that help your body perform at its prime.

Blueberries are just one example of a superfood. They are rich in antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, potassium, and vitamin C—almost an endless source of nutrition—that help lower risk of heart disease and cancer, improve memory, improve eyesight, stave off UTIs, and combat inflammation, a leading cause of chronic diseases.

The blueberry does not rank among the five most popular fruits in the United States, but with the extensive list of health benefits it provides, it certainly should.

Still, the U.S. is the world’s largest blueberry producer, harvesting more than 560 million pounds of the spherical fruit in 2012.

Experts suggest incorporating at least a ½ cup of blueberries into your diet a day. There are a number of ways to do this, including adding blueberries to cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, brightening up your salad at lunch, mixing into yogurt for a snack, or baking them into a pie or cobbler for a summer treat.

The most nutrients are derived from fresh, raw fruit though, rather than cooked berries.

This is the perfect time for it since summer is the peak off the blueberry season, providing the most luscious berries. And remember, the darker the berry, the more antioxidants it contains.

For the 21 and up crowd, here is Food Network personality Giada de Laurentiis showing you how to incorporate blueberries into a summer cocktail.