Hi Friends, today’s natural food I am featuring is the awesome nutritional powerhouse wild blueberry.
Where do they come from ?
Native to Northern America, they grow wild almost exclusively from the state of Maine and northwards into Canada.
Difference between wild blueberries and cultivated blueberries…..
Coming from Europe, I was accustomed to the bilberry but not the blueberry. It has been exciting to become acquainted with this powerhouse little berry.
Only recently did I consistently add wild blueberries to my family’s daily diet because I hadn’t previously appreciated the additional nutritional value contained in wild blueberries as compared to the cultivated varieties.
The wild blueberry is much smaller than the cultivated blueberry and therefore you get a lot more skin for a pound of berries than you do with the cultivated berries ( up to double the amount of berries for the same weight).
And it is in the skin that most of the key nutritional benefits lie…………….
Research has shown that wild blueberries tend to have higher bioactive compounds called anthocyanin and antioxidant levels than cultivated blueberries.
In addition, the specific anthocyanin and phenolic compounds of wild blueberries are different than those in cultivated berries and have been associated by researchers with enhanced health benefits.
Anthocyanins belong to the bioactive family of compounds called flavonoids and are found in high amounts in blackcurrants, raspberries, aubergines, blood orange juice and blueberries.
Wild Blueberries have a more intense, sweet and tangy taste than cultivated blueberries.
It is time to be get wild about wild blueberries……..
The deeper the blue of the berries the better the health benefits because the deep blue color is related to high amounts of phytonutrients called anthocyanidins. These phytonutrients aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells.
Wild blueberries are super foods in the real sense of the word………..
Wild blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse.
Antioxidants (if you didn’t know) stop the oxidation process in our cells run by particles known as free radicals. And when we don’t get enough antioxidants, then oxidative stress is said to be occurring which can manifest as premature aging or creating chronic conditions that can lead to disease and eventually even death.
Five wonderful benefits to eating these little gems…………
A Anti-aging benefits
Blueberries can help to keep our aging at bay with a high capacity for free-radical neutralization. Aging of course is normal, but in today’s polluted world, our livers are being asked to work overtime and the result is that we are aging faster than our ancestors! Overtime, the collagen matrix of our tissues and cells begins to deteriorate. Including a handful of these berries everyday will contribute to maintaining your youth!
B Eye health
Wild blueberries have been shown to be very beneficial to eye health and even help to prevent macular degeneration or slow down the speed of macular degeneration for the same reasons as given before. Macula degeneration results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. Macular degeneration is usually age related and mostly affects people over the age of 60.
C Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that bioactive compounds in blueberries called anthocyanins offer protection against hypertension. Compared with those who do not eat blueberries, those eating at least one serving a week reduce their risk of developing the condition by 10 per cent.
D Cognitive Impairment
Blueberry antioxidants activate two brain-protective enzymes, catalase and superoxide dismutase ( SOD). These are the enzymes that keep neurons from being “deactivated” after they are attacked by free radicals. This suggests that including blueberries in your diet may help with aging and protect you against cognitive impairment.
E Urinary Tract Infections
Blueberry juice and fresh blueberries are great for fighting any issues with the urinary tract including infections. Blueberries prevent the bacteria from adhering to the wall of the bladder and thus prevent the infection from taking hold. Since they contain such high levels of antioxidants, they are great for supporting the immune system and preventing infections from taking hold in the first place. And blueberry juice tastes great without any need for sugar and it is safe for all ages.
Lastly Vitamins and Minerals……
Wild blueberries are a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, and beta-carotene. They also contain valuable minerals including iron, postassium, calcium, silicon, and manganese.
Where to get them………….
Frozen wild blueberries are found in the freezer section of many supermarkets today. Frozen berries are the best way to maintain the integrity of the nutrition from bush to kitchen table. Check with your local health store if you can’t find them in your supermarket.
And if you can’t find wild blueberries or they are beyond your current food budget, make sure you get some cultivated blueberries. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you can’t get wild blueberries for some reason, that you should avoid the cultivated variety. Remember, blueberries should be part of your nutrition plan.
How many to eat…..
Like most superfoods, you can get the benefits you require daily by eating a handful or putting a small number in your smoothie.
Remember: Investment in your diet today will ensure that your family can look forward to enjoying tomorrow with you!
Your turn to comment…..
What natural foods do you eat every day and why? Are blueberries part of your diet? Put your comments below.
Your friend and partner in wellness and prosperity,
Some Research references:
Hurst RD, Wells RW, Hurst SM et al. Blueberry fruit polyphenolics suppress oxidative stress-induced skeletal muscle cell damage in vitro. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Mar;54(3):353-63. 2010.
Jenkins DJA, Ssrichaikul K, Kendall CWC et al. The relation of low glycaemic index fruit consumption to glycaemic control and risk factors for coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2011 February; 54(2): 271-279. 2011.
Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA et al. Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 April 14; 58(7): 3996-4000. 2010.
Wang SY, Chen CT, Sciarappa W et al. Fruit quality, antioxidant capacity, and flavonoid content of organically and conventionally grown blueberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jul 23;56(14):5788-94. Epub 2008 Jul 1. 2008.
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