Sometimes I complain for no good reason.  I’m learning that this is not particularly healthy or useful and trying to stop.  One alternative I’ve discovered is celebrating things that are unambiguously good.  That brings me to today’s musing:  Blueberries are fantastic!

You’ve likely encountered the blueberry in the course of your life.  It’s blue.  It’s delicious.  You can eat them fresh, frozen and in other things—from smoothies to yogurt to pancakes to pies, if you’re into that kind of thing. 

For years I’ve tried to avoid processed sugars and to snack on fruit rather than things I might enjoy in the moment, but know I’ll regret later.  Blueberries check two boxes: they are a versatile snack food and a useful staple in my diet.  As snacks you can bring them in a bag or a small container.  You can even dry them.  If you are at home or work, stash some in the freezer because frozen, they are like candy.  When I eat them, they satisfy my craving for something sweet and if baked goods are your crave, there are many muffins and backed square options you can make without the “bad” stuff that adds carbs, calories and unnecessary fat found in café muffins.

But that little blueberry has a bunch of secret super powers that make you healthy without sacrificing taste, pleasure.  Among these powers, per multiple NIH Journals, “Epidemiological studies associate regular, moderate intake of blueberries (that have anthocyanins) with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, death, and type 2 diabetes, and with improved weight maintenance and neuroprotection.”

This research also notes that blueberries produce anti-inflammatory and antioxidant impacts and are beneficial for vascular and glucoregulatory function.  Their phytochemicals may affect gastrointestinal microflora, and may contribute to (eaters’) general health.  To sum it up, “regular consumption of tasty, ripe blueberries can be unconditionally recommended.” [i]   Research also suggests the compounds found in blueberries may delay the effects of vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Calling the blueberry a “superfood,” isn’t hyperbole.  They are chocked full vitamins and minerals, many of which are classified as antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids that scientists think may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Our bodies produce these free radical molecules when breaking down food or when exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.[ii]

In addition to being high in antioxidants blueberries are high in fiber, low in saturated fat and cholesterol making them a perfect food to eat along your road to wellness.  Don’t hold back on the blueberries (and blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries)!

Just for nutrition label junkies (like me) a 1/2 cup serving of blueberries contains 25 percent of the recommended daily value for vitamin C, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 30 calories. As juicy fruits they contain mostly water and I’m told nutrition-people recommend juicy fruits for those seeking weight loss or weight maintenance, because they fill you up quickly (with their high water content) with few calories.

So go…now, eat blueberries!

[i] The mighty anti-oxidant power of the blueberry, NIH
[ii] National Institutes of Health, multiple links to articles about specific benefits of blueberry consumption