Compared to many other fruits and vegetables, blueberries have been ranked as one of the best in terms of antioxidant content. The exact role that blueberry phenolics play in antioxidant defence in the body remains unclear, however, there is a lot of research currently taking place that aims to determine the exact role that blueberries play in promoting health and preventing disease. In general, antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables play an important role in lowering the risk of developing a number of degenerative diseases and have been shown to benefit heart health, eyesight, and memory. Antioxidants are able to protect biological systems against damage that can be caused by oxidative stress, which can cause inflammation, infection, premature ageing, and heart disease. In addition to beneficial antioxidants, blueberries provide a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, and copper.
Blueberries were traditionally dried and used to combat diarrhoea and food poisoning from as early as the Middle Ages. Modern research has shown that such remedies have a scientific basis. Blueberries have antimicrobial activity against bacteria such as E. coli, which are often the cause of gastrointestinal disruptions, thanks to the anthocyanins that they contain. Furthermore, blueberries may help combat recurrent cystitis, which is caused by bacteria that travel up the urethra into the bladder to cause inflammation and infection that can be incredibly uncomfortable. Blueberries contain substances that prevent the infectious bacteria from adhering to the mucous membranes of the urinary tract, stopping them from travelling up the urethra and into the bladder, and thus preventing infection.
Blueberries are naturally sweet and do not need to be cooked with lots of sugar to make them tasty, unlike many other berries that can be tart and difficult to eat on their own. Blueberries are small and firm, with a blue-black skin and a light interior. They are delicious eaten with some fresh plain yoghurt and homemade granola, in smoothies, in baked goods, and even as an addition to a fresh salad. For some more interesting ways that you can use blueberries, check out this link.
- Blueberries and Human Health: A Review of Current Research
- Formulating with Blueberries
- Blueberry – culinary uses and health benefits
- Making the Case for Eating Fruit