Whether you buy them fresh or frozen, blueberries are a sweet and delicious treat. If you haven’t added this superfood to your diet yet, you're missing out on a nutritional punch.
Blueberries range in color from dark blue to purple. The fruit gets its color from flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have antioxidant power to protect your body from damage and disease. Antioxidants also reduce inflammation in the body.
Are blueberries nutritious? The short answer is yes. They contain nutrients to improve your overall health, whether you’re trying to control your blood sugar or manage your weight. Here are a few health benefits of blueberries, plus tips on how to incorporate blueberries into your meals and snacks.
The nutritious benefits of blueberries
1. Good source of fiber
Fiber can get rid of constipation, plus control your weight, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar. This is a major plus if you're living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
One study found that eating three servings of blueberries (in combination with other whole fruits) per week could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7 percent.
2. Low in fat and calories
If you're looking for a healthy snack during the day, blueberries are one of the best foods of choice. A single cup has only 84 calories and almost no fat. This means you can satisfy your sweet tooth without packing on the pounds.
3. Good source of vitamin C
Blueberries contain vitamin C, which also functions as an antioxidant. Vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system and wards off a variety of illnesses, including colds, urinary tract infections, and cancer. Vitamin C also contributes to healthy gums and improves the production of collagen for healthier and smoother skin. Other vitamins found in blueberries include:
- vitamin A
- vitamin K
- vitamin B-6
4. Blueberries protect against heart disease
Blueberries are sodium-free and cholesterol-free. Eating blueberries can naturally decrease blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s because this fruit is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
One study found that eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week might help women reduce their risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third.
5. Blueberries improve your mental health
Adding blueberries to your diet may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. A report published in the journal Annals of Neurology found that a higher intake of berry flavonoids appears to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults.
A preliminary study by the University of Cincinnati also found that eating blueberries daily could improve memory.
6. Promote stronger bones
Weak bones increase your risk of fractures. But eating blueberries may provide protection. A study in laboratory rats found that blueberries have substances that contribute to healthier, stronger bones.
The findings may have something to do with blueberries containing minerals that promote bone strength, including:
How to eat blueberries
There are more than a few ways to include blueberries in your diet. You can eat blueberries by themselves, or get creative and experiment with different recipes.
- Blueberry breakfast cookies. Most people don’t associate cookies with breakfast. But when you combine blueberries, oats, flaxseed, brown sugar, and buttermilk, you’ll create a morning treat that’s not only delicious, but a healthy start to your day. View the recipe.
- Blueberry pizza. Looking for a way to spice up your ordinary pizza recipe? This recipe contains lemon zest, brown sugar, blueberries, and three different types of cheeses. This isn’t your typical pizza recipe, but it may be a good addition to your menu when blueberries are in season. View the recipe.
- Blueberry mole chicken. If you have chicken breast, blueberries, and dried chilies in your kitchen, surprise your family with a meal they weren't expecting. Blueberries can transform an ordinary chicken dish into a savory, mouthwatering treat. View the recipe.
- Blueberry soup. All you need are fresh or frozen blueberries, honey, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a cinnamon stick to prepare a simple soup dish that’ll keep you warm and cozy. View the recipe.
- Hot blueberry cheddar dip. Add blueberries the next time you prepare a cheddar dip and enjoy a different version of this tasty snack. Blueberries and cheese may seem like an odd combination, but they go surprisingly well together. You only need a block of cream cheese, nutmeg, French bread, white cheddar, and olive oil. View the recipe.
- Blueberry brownies. The next time you prepare brownies for your family or friends, surprise everyone and add blueberries to the batter. This recipe features unsalted butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, flour, salt, and bittersweet chocolate. View the recipe.
- Blueberry apple cupcakes. If you love apples and blueberries, combine both ingredients for a succulent snack. To make this creation, you'll need basic baking ingredients like flour, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla, along with fresh or frozen blueberries and small red apples. View the recipe.
It doesn’t matter if the blueberries you buy are fresh or frozen. This is one fruit to always keep in your refrigerator. Blueberries are low in calories and a good source of fiber, which can assist your weight loss efforts. Most importantly, the fruit contains phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals to keep your mind and body healthy.