Blueberries, the blue-violet fruits with the characteristic sour taste are the richest source of antioxidant ingredients, beneficial to our health. Blueberry is the favorite fruit of the inhabitants of North America, thriving in many parts of the world. The physical condition and age of the residents of these areas attracted the interest of scientists and so began the first inquiries for nutrients and properties of blueberries. The results of the surveys, which were completed in 1998 at the Medical Center of Boston in the U.S., exceeded all expectations. Blueberries are considered today the source of eternal youth.
Survey of the American Tufts University ranks blueberries as the No. 1 (between 60 fruits tested systematically) in antioxidant and anti-aging properties, almost 40% more than red wine. Also, dozens of studies (mainly U.S. universities and organizations) have established the beneficial properties of blueberries to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, allergies, to combat “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and atherosclerosis, control hypertension etc. because of phytoestrogen containing in the fruit and leaves of the plant. It has been scientifically proven blueberries to be highly effective in the treatment of diabetes ( as a supplement to medical treatment – which in any case should not be interrupted). Moreover, its consumption enhances night vision.
Blueberries are delicious and have high nutritional value. On the contrary they are low in fat, sodium and calories, which place them in the first step of a healthy diet. It is rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C, E and B-carotene, sugar, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, inorganic acids, metal salts, pectin and fiber.
Still, folic and elagum acid found in the Russian blueberries (note that there are over 30 species of blueberry, overall, but not all have the same properties) has been proven to slow and protect against the development of tumors in the stomach, esophagus, lung, colon, oral cancer, breast, prostate, uterus and ovaries.
According to the experts of the University of Cincinnati, besides the useful antioxidants, the tasty darker juice also protects them from memory wear. Two cups of blueberry juice per day ‘shield’ memory. In only 12 weeks from the beginning of the test, the volunteers who drank blueberry juice had already greater ease in memorizing words and outscored other tests as well. They were, also, less likely to experience depressive behavior in relation to others. According to experts, the great benefits of blueberries are due to anthocyanin, an antioxidant that facilitates the flow of information within the brain.
According to another study published in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology a chemical in the plant’s leaves prevent the spread of hepatitis C. Because chronic hepatitis C affects the liver and the infection can last more than 20 years and developed into a dangerous disease, a dietary supplement with blueberry leaves can help, stop or even slow the progression of the disease over the years.
In Greece it is not easy to find fresh blueberries and when found they are a bit expensive. One can find packed blueberries in big supermarkets, early summer, especially late June-early July. Dried fruits are found in many organic shops and health food stores. At these shops you can find the juice, jams and compotes, as well as dried leaves of blueberry.
Surveys have shown that the valuable antioxidants of blueberries are not affected if frozen for a 3-6 months period. Good news for those of us who find them fresh for a short time!
So, don’t think about it anymore! Get fresh or dried blueberries, add them to your breakfast (milk or yogurt) or eat them as intermediate snack and enjoy the most of all the benefits they have to offer you!
Note: The ideas and information presented in this site are for informational purposes and in no way can replace the advice of a specialist in nutrition and health. Before starting any diet or fitness program, or adding any particular food in your daily diet program, you should contact a specialist doctor, or, dietitian, especially if you suffer from a serious illness.