Being proactive about your health is one of the best methods to help prevent the development of a chronic disease. One way to do this is to be mindful of your diet and to choose foods that are full of nutrients that benefit your overall health. Fruits and vegetables are great staples to have during the summer months, and now is a great time to take advantage of the varieties of produce that are available. One of my favorite seasonal foods is blueberries. This little berry is full of nutrients that are known to have a host of health benefits. Plus, it is a very versatile food. It can be incorporated into every meal in various forms or can be consumed alone as a snack.
It may be puzzling that something so small can be so powerful, but this little fruit could decrease your risk of getting cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even wrinkles! On top of that, blueberries reduce the risk of getting urinary tract infections, which are very common in women. A component found in their juice prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Blueberries are so unique because of their blend of phytochemicals. These components found in fruits and vegetables have been shown to have positive health effects in the body! Blueberries have carotenoids, folate, fiber, vitamins E and C, iron, phytoestrogens, polyphenols and potassium just to name a few. All of these nutrients help the body run optimally. Perhaps the most significant nutrient is a type of flavonoid known as anthocyanin.
Anthocyanins are what give blueberries and other blue and purple foods their deep colors. They are responsible for the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Antioxidants are important compounds because they neutralize the free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals damage the healthy cells and make us more prone to developing diseases like cancer. This is why blueberries are so important. Research has also found that anthocyanins work with other nutrients and can help strengthen our cardiovascular health.
In addition to being low in calories and providing all of these health benefits, blueberries taste delicious! They come in many varieties such as fresh, frozen, or dried, and often are added to certain foods like waffles and cereals. Now that you know many of the benefits of blueberries in your diet, add some today!
Here is one great recipe to try. It is super easy to make and you could enjoy it for breakfast or as a snack.
Overnight Blueberry Oats
½ cup of quick oats
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp of peanut butter
½ cup of low-fat milk (or Almond Milk)
1.Add all the ingredients in a small container like a mason jar. Start with the oats and add the milk as the last ingredient.
2. Mix well with a spoon.
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for 5 hours).
4. Oatmeal is ready to eat or you can warm it up in the microwave and enjoy!
Nutrient Info: 360 kcal, 51 g of carbohydrates, 15.5 g of protein, 11.5 g of fat, 105 mg sodium, 310 mg potassium, 10 g of fiber, 16.6 g of sugar