Nutritional and Health Benefits of Blueberries
Latin Name : Vaccinium corymbosum
The blueberry plant is native to North America though today it is grown worldwide. The plant is a perennial.
The berries start off pale greenish in color change to reddish purple while ripening are the ripe berries are deep blue to dark purple in color.
Ripe berries have a silver to blue sheen called bloom which indicates they are fresh. The sheen cannot be washed off with water and stays for about 7-8 days after the blueberries are harvested. The sheen or bloom protects the berries from the harsh rays of the sun.
The reddish purple blueberry is not fully ripe.
Blueberries contain a wide array of nutrients, especially the micro nutrients and high levels of manganese, Vitamin B6, C, E, K and fiber.
They are a rich source of antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonoids, beta carotene, phenolic compounds ellagic acid.
Blue-berries (Vaccinium spp)
ORAC Value 5562,
Nutrition Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries have been used in folk medicine.
A brew made by using roots of the tree was used as a tea to relax women during childbirth.
The leaves were steeped in water to use as a blood purifier.
For relieving cough, blueberry juice and syrup were used.
Blueberries are low in calories just 83 calories in 145 grams of the fruit. Studies indicate blueberries break down fats.
Because of the phytochemicals like anthocyanins, flavonols, tannins and resveratrol blueberry helps to reduce cancer risk and inflammation.
It is also believed to help in reducing effects of Alzheimer's disease and general aging related changes.
Blueberry benefits in urinary tract infections, maintains normal blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and heart disease risk, improves memory and controls depression.
Blueberry has a low glycemic index. Hence it provides better sugar control in people with diabetes.
Regular consumption of blueberries has shown to increase night vision and provides faster acclimatization to darkness and faster restoration of vision after exposure to bright light.
Blueberries provide relief in both diarrhea and constipation.
Organically grown blueberries have been found to have higher levels of total antioxidants and anthocyanin content.
Blueberry juice consumption has been found to improve the memory function in older adults who have faced early memory decline
New evidence suggests that blueberry consumption reduces the damage to muscles due to over exercise.
These are just a few of the many health benefits of blueberries.
References and Studies for Health Benefits
Types of Blueberry Plants
These are mainly of three types of blueberry plant:
The plant can grow to a height of 12 feet when uncultivated but stays around 4 - 7 feet when cultivated. Blueberries from this variety are the most commonly available in the grocery stores.
This is the wild blueberry plant growing to a height of 1-2 feet. The berry of this plant is smaller than the berry of the high bush plant. These blueberries are mainly used in processed foods.
These grow up to 20 feet in height but on cultivation remain at a height of 4-10 feet.
Selection & Storage
Blueberries that are firm to touch, smooth skinned and purple to blue black in color should be bought. When buying frozen blueberries ensure that the berries move freely in the container and are not clumpy nor is there water in the container.
To store fresh blueberries remove any soft, crushed or moldy ones and do not wash before storing. They can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week to 10 days.
How to Freeze Blueberries
Take dry blueberries but do not wash them. Arrange the in a single layer in a tray on butter paper and put them in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen transfer them to a plastic bag and seal airtight.
Freezing does not affect the nutrient value of the antioxidant anthocyanin adversely.
Cooking may change the color of blueberries. Lemon juice and vinegar can turn the berries reddish due to their acid content or alkaline foods like baking soda may turn their color greenish blue.
In cakes, muffins & scones' batter, stir in fresh or frozen blueberries last.
Uses of Blueberries
Blueberries can be eaten fresh, frozen or processed as juice, puree, dried for use in jams, jellies, pies, muffins, cakes, scones, cheese, cereals and snacks. A wine is also prepared from blueberry.
Fresh blueberries provide the highest nutritional benefits.
Blueberry Cake Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350°.
Grease and flour 10" tube pan.
In medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, beat sugar and 1/4 cup margarine until light and fluffy. Add egg & beat well. Alternately, add dry ingredients and milk to sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Spread 2/3 of batter into greased and floured pan; top with blueberries.
Pour the remaining batter on top and spread evenly.
In medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Using pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/4 cup margarine until mixture is crumbly.
Stir in nuts and sprinkle mixture over batter.
Bake at 350° for approximately 55 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.
Cool 10 minutes & remove from pan.
Source : producepete.com
Blueberry Tea Cakes Recipe
Yield: About 24 small cakes
Crumb Topping Ingredients
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups blueberries
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and combine with a fork or your fingers until it forms crumbs. Set aside.
To make the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then add the milk gradually, beating after each addition. Add the batter mixture a small quantity at a time, beating after each addition. Beat until smooth.
Fold the blueberries into the batter, stirring gently by hand until they are evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins and sprinkle each cake with a little crumb topping.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
source : producepete.com
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
Blueberry Muffins Recipe
No Bake Blueberry Pie Recipe
© 2011 Rajan Singh Jolly