Today I went to the local farmers market here in Prince George, and among other fresh and locally grown produce I bought 2lb of blueberries. I’ve already snacked on almost half the container….
Did you know that blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America? They are also in season in BC from July until early October. And word on the street is this is one of the best of the blueberry seasons.
Honestly I think blueberries are a totally underpresented fruit. They just don’t get the same hype as other berries like strawberries and cherries but they are packed with nutrition and great taste. For example, did you know that blueberries are the most antioxidant rich food in the world??! It’s true! The antioxidant properties in blueberries, (and other antioxidant rich foods) help to stave off aging, reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer and increases HDL (good) cholesterol which can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Blueberries also contain tanins that can help to prevent against urinary tract infections. Although blueberries are not part of the “Dirty Dozen” (foods you should purchase organic according to the Environmental Working Group), studies have found that organically grown blueberries have higher concentrations of antioxidants than conventional blueberries. This being said, as with all the fruits and vegetables, if you can’t find or can’t afford organic it’s best to buy locally grown produce. And blueberries are packed full with antioxidants regardless so just buy local grown berries from the farm stand or grocery store.
Some new research is suggesting that blueberries help with cognition and brain function. One such study found that older adults who consumed 2-2.5lb of blueberries in the form of juice, had improved cognitive function including improved memory. Keep in mind that this is a new study and that the participants were drinking juice which I would not recommend because you lose some of the fibre and other health benefits of blueberries by juicing them (for more informaiton see my post on juicing). I still think it’s worth it to note that blueberries may have an impact on brain function and even if they don’t it does’t hurt to eat lots of them 🙂
Blueberries and other berries are also great for your waist line as they are low on the glycemic index and also low in calories and fat (like most fruit and vegetables) so pick them for your dessert instead of the cheesecake.
What I’m really trying to get at here is that blueberries are delicious and they are in season now so go to your local fruit stand and buy a whole bunch! A great idea would be to stock up on blueberries now and freeze them so that you can keep the health benefits of blueberries and can enjoy them all year long.
Here are some other ideas for ways to enjoy blueberries this summer:
- by the handful on their own, they would make a great snack for your next movie (and no micorwave popping or loud chewing required)
- topped on plain low fat greek yogurt with a sprinkle of chia seeds, hemp seeds and a small handfull of bran buds or low fat granola
- tossed in your morning cereal or oatmeal
- tossed in your ice cream
- blended into a smoothie with plain yogurt, milk, a banana and spinach
- blueberry bran muffins (recipe to come)
- add to pancake batter (make sure to place into batter once already in the frying pan not just add to the batter in the bowl, it will turn your pancakes blue…)
While i recommend eating blueberries in their raw form and not baked into cookies and cakes to get their best health value, the BC Blueberry Council does have some great recipes listed that I might have to try out.
Stay tuned for a post or two from the recipes I try.