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Nutritional and Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberry

Latin Name : Vaccinium corymbosum

About Blueberries

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.

Source

Nutritional Benefits

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.

Blueberry Nutrition

(click column header to sort results)
   
   
   
 
Blue-berries (Vaccinium spp)
 
 
ORAC Value 5562,
 
 
Nutrition Value per 100 g.
 
 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
 
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
57 Kcal
3%
Carbohydrates
14.49 g
11%
Protein
0.74 g
1%
Total Fat
0.33 g
1%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
2.4 g
6%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
6 µg
1.50%
Niacin
0.418 mg
2.50%
Pantothenic acid
0.124 mg
2.50%
Pyridoxine
0.052 mg
4%
Riboflavin
0.041 mg
3%
Vitamin A
54 IU
2%
Vitamin C
9.7 mg
1.50%
Vitamin E
0.57 mg
4%
Vitamin K
19.3 µg
13%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
1 mg
0%
Potassium
77 mg
2%
 
 
 
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
6 mg
0.50%
Iron
0.28 mg
3.50%
Magnesium
6 mg
1.50%
Manganese
0.336 mg
14%
Zinc
0.16 mg
1.50%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Carotene-ß
32 µg
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
80 µg
--
 
 
 

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

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/
  • http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/7/3/216.full.pdf
  • http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20090419/blueberries-may-banish-belly-fat
  • http://www.medicaldaily.com/blueberries-may-help-control-blood-pressure-321276
  • http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eat-blueberries-and-strawberries-three-times-per-week
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/09/blueberries-reduce-belly-fat-and-diabetes-risk.aspx
  • http://www.naturalnews.com/047905_blueberries_antioxidants_eyesight.html
  • http://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-9-19

Types of Blueberry Plants

These are mainly of three types of blueberry plant:

High Bush

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.

Low Bush

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.

Rabbit Eye

These grow up to 20 feet in height but on cultivation remain at a height of 4-10 feet.

Unripe blueberries.
Unripe blueberries. | Source

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.

About Blueberries

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.

Blueberry Tea
Blueberry Tea | Source
Blueberry Stilton Cheese
Blueberry Stilton Cheese | Source

Cooking Blueberries

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.

Blueberry scones.
Blueberry scones. | Source

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


Cake Ingredients

  • 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)

Topping Ingredients

  • 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)

Preparing

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

Batter Ingredients

  • 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

Preparing

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



Disclaimer

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

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

awordlover profile image

awordlover 4 years ago

Another excellent hub, Rajan! Voted up, useful, interesting. Well done!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I love blueberries! I didn't know they were so good for you though. I like making muffins for the girls for breakfast....and I will love trying a new recipe - the tea cakes sound wonderful!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Once again Rajan, you have created a very informational and Healthy article. I am trying to keep up with you! Blueberries are native to my area and although I love to eat them in the wild, I don't enjoy blueberry pancakes! My mom makes them as well as every local breakfast restaurant, but I just don't like the tartness. I have tried them in beer and enjoyed them as a brew. This Hub makes me want to eat more blueberries! Voting up and sharing!

JSMatthew~


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

I love blueberries. We have a farm 40 minutes away where we can go each summer to pick blueberries - there's nothing better than fresh blueberries off the bush! Great hub!


BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

Blueberries are great. I try to get organic ones whenever possible. Whenever they are not in season, I sometimes get frozen ones from the store.


Arizona Sue 4 years ago

Great hub and info...yes they are an excellent food. I read they also help cure the runs. Food is medicine!!


m0rd0r profile image

m0rd0r 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

Great hub, I cannot write it better.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Very interesting and useful hub. I knew blueberries were good for you, but didn’t know all the details. My husband’s recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol, so it looks like blueberries would be a good choice for him.

One benefit you forgot is that they are delicious so you’ll feel happy eating them and that will help your body too! :-)


JCielo profile image

JCielo 4 years ago from England

Rajan, another super Hub from you with great attention to detail!

BTW, the anthocyanins make blueberries an excellent home remedy for the symptoms of gout.

And did I read somewhere that blueberries and blackberries were used during the 2nd world war to try to help pilots' night vision?

Awesome and voted up!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ awordlover. Glad to see you stopping by and leaving such fine comments. Thank you very much for voting it up.

@ RealHousewife. Thanks for visiting and I hope you find the tea cakes as good as they sound.

@ J.S.Matthew. It's a pleasure to see see you here with such appreciative comments. Thanks for finding it useful and sharing it. Blueberries in any form are healthy, so as long as you eat them you will benefit.

@ Kris. Appreciation from a scientist is all the more appreciated. You are lucky to have blueberries as fresh as it can can get. Thanks for reading.

@ BlissfulWriter. Organic blueberries are absolutely wonderful if you can lay your hans on them. Fresh or frozen they are equally beneficial. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Arizona Sue, Thanks for reading and leaving your comments. I appreciate it. Food is truly medicine when needed.

@ m0rd0r. Thanks for such a high comment. I appreciate your visit.

@ Melovy. I am sure eating blueberries will reduce your husband's cholesterol.Thanks for your input and the

appreciation. Thank you very much.

@ JCielo. Appreciation from a fellow writer on health issues is very comforting. I appreciate ypur visit and comments from the bottom of my heart. Thanks a lot gor the vote up.


Kawaljit kaur profile image

Kawaljit kaur 4 years ago from JALANDHAR, Punjab (India)

Rajan jolly g

The hub is interesting and informative as usual. but i couldn't make out what are these blue berries? Are these available in our market?

Thanks


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Kawaljit blueberries are available only in the metro cities as yet and all of it is imported from USA. I believe some people have started growing blueberry plants in India but the local produce is not commercially available as yet.

I do not know the hindi name for blueberries. A lot of people confuse it for Falsa which is purple in colour like blueberry but falsa is not blueberry. The Genus and species for the falsa plant is Grewia asiatica. Falsa fruit is different in shape also.

I will be writing a hub on falsa shortly too.

Thanks for reading and showing interest


ActiviaUK profile image

ActiviaUK 4 years ago

Rajan I love finding out the benefits of foods. Especially ones that I like! Thanks again for your info. My favourite time for having blueberries is in the morning thrown in with my breakfast. Here's a recipe for homemade toasted muesli and blueberries -http://bit.ly/rnkYTE

Thanks again!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Activia, thanks for stopping by and leaving your inputs. I appreciate it.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Rajan! You are doing those of us at HP as well as people around the world a huge favor by providing positive hubs on the benefits of natural foods. This one on blueberries is no exception.

Voted up, up and away with a big THANK YOU attached!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Dexter thanks for reading and leaving these wonderful comments. I just love natural foods and I want to share the benefits.

Thanks for everything.

Wish you a very happy Christmas.


Dr. Prof.Afzal Khan 4 years ago

What is the Urdu or Hindi name of Blueberry and are the berries grown in Pakistan.b


Dr. Prof.Afzal Khan 4 years ago

What is the Urdu or Hindi name of Blueberry and are the berries grown in Pakistan.b


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Hi Dr. Prof. Afzal Khan,

I think Blueberries are called Nilabadari (pronounced neelbadri) in Hindi. I'm not aware of their being grown in Pakistan or even close to it.

Thanks for reading.


Kasman profile image

Kasman 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

Blueberries are probably my favorite berry as is. I knew they had major health benefits but I didn't know to what extent. I really loved the blueberry cheese that I saw, I would love to try some of that sometime. Some of the recipes here are some I'm going to have to make as well. One of my favorite uses for them is putting them on top of my cereal in the mornings. One of the best toppings you can have honestly. Great hub, Rajan. Voting up!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Hi Kas,

Thanks for appreciating the hub and I hope you give the recipes you like a try. Appreciate your visit and comments. Thanks.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Finally, something that grows in the USA AND is good for you ;) I did know some of the benefits but not all. As always this is superb filled with growing information, health benefits and recipes. Thanks Rajan.

Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

This is a terrific hub, Rajan, and a good reminder of how nutritious (as well as delicious) blueberries are. I eat blueberries at least twice every week--fresh organic ones in season and frozen organic berries the rest of the year. I enjoy them plain or in my oatmeal.

Voted Up+++

Jaye


Dr. Vaibhav Patni 2 years ago

Hi friends..can anyone please tell what from where in india can I buy fresh blueberry.. I need it for my dads treatment.. But unable to find it here...

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