Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with nutrients and have even been dubbed as one of nature’s super-foods. They contain a powerful antioxidant, which gives the blueberries their distinct deep blue color. Antioxidants can aid in fighting against almost any type of disease. This is due to their ability to fight free radicals, which are harmful to cells. Scientists have linked these free radicals to at least sixty different chronic diseases. If you supply your body with antioxidants, you are helping it intercept the harmful action of free radicals and repair some of the damage.

Here is a list of the benefits that blueberries can provide:

  • Prevents urinary tract infections
  • Prevents macular degeneration of the eyes
  • Slows down aging
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Enhances brain function
  • Fights against Alzheimer's disease and memory loss
  • Prevents constipation
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Helps prevent and cure cancer
  • Strengthens the cardiac muscles
  • Boosts the immune system

The nutrients that can be found in a blueberry include: carotenoids and flavonoids such as rutin and quercitin, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, zinc, phosphorus and selenium.

Selection and Storage

When you buy blueberries to mix with your smoothie, choose those that are plump and firm. The color should range from deep purple blue to bluish black. A reddish color means that the berries are not fully ripe yet. One other thing to watch out for is that they should be covered with a silvery white coating, called “bloom”. These indicate that the berries are fresh. Never purchase fruit that appears dull or when there is dirt or mold, or when they are shriveled. Check the containers for stains which signify crushing or bruising.

Handle blueberries carefully because they are easily bruised. This shortens the life of the fruits and affects the quality. Sort carefully and store loosely in shallow container, making sure that you allow air circulation and those on top do not crush those underneath. Since the fruits are highly perishable, it is best to store them in the refrigerator. Bear in mind though that they should not be washed before refrigerating. Washing is done only when you are about to use them. Also, make sure that you store them in covered containers. Blueberries can keep for up to two weeks when properly chilled. Before preparing them for use, wash gently in cold water. You do not have to peel the berries before making them into smoothies.

Blueberries that are to be frozen should be unwashed and completely dry. Place them in re-sealable plastic bags and store in the freezer. You can keep the fruits frozen for up to one year, so you can enjoy them even when they are out of season. Remember to rinse the fruits before using them.

If you want, you can opt to buy frozen blueberries. Some nutritionists even say that frozen is better because the freezing is done when the fruits are at their peak of ripeness so the nutrients are intact.

Since blueberries cost more than strawberries, a good way to save money is to make smoothies that contain both fruits. In this way, your stock of blueberries are will last twice as long and you will enjoy the taste and nutrients of two kinds of berries in your drink.

Next Article: Blueberry Smoothie Recipes