NDSU Extension Service - Benson County

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Enjoy the Health Benefits of Blueberries

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Did you know the consumption of blueberries rose 1.6 times in the past ten years?  Although this may be surprising, it really shouldn’t be after learning about all of the health benefits of blueberries.

Blueberries can lower your risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.  In addition, the blueberry has antioxidants and is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Who knew there were so many ways to be healthy by simply eating a few blueberries? They have a wide variety of health benefits, and taste best this time of year, since they are in season.

Blueberries are so fantastic; they have even been known to be called a ‘super food’.  With only about 80 calories per cup, blueberries are low in calories and completely fat free.  They also contain a long list of vitamins, minerals, as well a large dose of dietary fiber. 

It has been said that carrots help with keep one’s vision good- but get this; blueberries are the new food for the eyes!  They reduce eye strain, photo damage to the retinas, and can protect retinal cells against chemical toxins. 

Blueberries have it all; they serve as a way to keep your entire body healthy, from your liver to your eyes and from your heart to your bones.  Next time you are at the grocery store, or near a blueberry bush, be sure to pick up a handful of this delicious super fruit. 

Because blueberries are in season, they are also generally lower in price.  When budgeting how much money is spent on food each month, be sure to look at the price of all of the different fruits so that you get the best deal possible.  Buying in season fruit, like blueberries is sure to give you more produce for your money. 

If fresh blueberries are still a bit pricy, not to worry! There are a variety of ways to get your blueberry fix.  Blueberries are available fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.  They are also in jellies, jams, and fruit juice.  Just be sure to make sure real berries are being used when the blueberries are in something (such as juice). 

Below is a way to satisfy your sweet tooth, and enjoy a few berries as well!  The berry-banana parfait is filled with dairy, berries, and a dash of cinnamon for a few additional health benefits.  Enjoy the berry-banana parfait and eat all of the blueberries you can!

Berry-Banana Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • Cinnamon

Directions:

Rinse the blueberries and banana in cold, running water.  Peel and slice the banana.  In a glass, place ½ cup of blueberries and top with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and a few banana slices, then a dollop of yogurt.  Top with raisins or dried cranberries and sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Makes 8 servings.  90 calories per serving, 0.5 grams of fat, 21 grams carbohydrates, and 20 mg sodium.

Sources:

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