Episode #9 of the course “Superfoods you should know about”
Enjoyed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, blueberries offer unique antioxidant properties. They grow well in the right climates, ripening sometime over the summer. For centuries, people have eaten cultivated and wild blueberries, and today, berry lovers enjoy over two dozen varieties. No matter the type, a ripe blueberry is one of nature’s most potent supplies of a unique combination of antioxidant chemicals.
Blueberries contain healthy amounts of fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which make them good for the immune system, liver, and digestive system. Researchers are interested in learning about the phytochemicals in blueberries that give them such potent antioxidant powers. While it is a sweet berry, the little blueberry is low in natural sugars and is being studied to see how it helps people with diabetes regulate blood sugar. Blueberries are also thought to positively affect memory and neurological function in people of all ages.
While most nutritionists and culinary experts agree that fresh blueberries are best for taste, texture, and immediate delivery of nutrients, researchers have found that blueberries frozen properly do not lose a great deal of their nutritional value. This means they can be stored and used later. However, frozen blueberries simply may not substitute well for fresh blueberries in some recipes. Once the berries are cooked or baked, they do tend to lose a substantial portion of their nutrients, as well as their flavor.
Because they are coated in a protective natural wax, these berries should be rinsed before being eaten or used. Like most berries, blueberries can be baked into pies, cakes, and other baked goods, as well dried or processed into preserves. Making blueberries a part of a child’s diet can boost the immune system and provide trace minerals that enhance brain growth and development. Encouraging children to eat blueberries regularly can enhance their lifelong nutritional habits and promote general health.
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