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Nutritional and Health Benefits of Blueberries

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

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 a pale greenish color, change to reddish-purple while ripening, and become deep blue to dark purple when fully ripe.

Ripe berries also have a silver to blue sheen called the "bloom," which indicates they are fresh. The sheen cannot be washed off with water and stays on the berry for about 7–8 days after they are harvested. The sheen or bloom protects the berries from the harsh rays of the sun.

Blueberry

Latin Name : Vaccinium corymbosum

Nutritional Benefits

Blueberries contain a wide array of nutrients, especially micro-nutrients, and high levels of manganese, vitamin B6, C, E, K, and fiber.

They are a rich source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, flavonoids, beta carotene, phenolic compounds, and ellagic acid.

Blueberry Nutrition

Blue-berries (Vaccinium spp) ORAC Value 5562, Nutrition Value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database)

PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage 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

  1. Blueberries are low in calories, just 83 calories in 145 grams of the fruit. Studies indicate blueberries break down fats.
  2. The phytochemicals like anthocyanins, flavonols, tannins, and resveratrol in blueberries may help to reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation.
  3. They are also believed to help in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's disease and general age-related changes.
  4. Blueberries may help treat urinary tract infections, maintain normal blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and heart disease risk, improve memory, and control depression.
  5. Blueberries have a low glycemic index.
  6. Regular consumption of blueberries has been shown to increase night vision, provide faster acclimatization to darkness, and facilitate the faster restoration of vision after exposure to bright light.
  7. Blueberries provide relief from both diarrhoea and constipation.
  8. Organically grown blueberries have been found to have higher levels of total antioxidants and anthocyanin content.
  9. Blueberry juice consumption has been found to improve memory function in older adults who face early memory decline.
  10. New evidence suggests that blueberry consumption reduces the damage to muscles due to over-exercise.

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.

Selection and Storage

Blueberries that are firm to touch, smooth-skinned and purple to blue-black in colour 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 mouldy 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 them in a single layer in a tray on the 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 Blueberries

Cooking may change the colour 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 colour greenish-blue.

In cakes, muffins and scones' batter, stir in fresh or frozen blueberries last.

Uses of Blueberries

Blueberries can be eaten fresh; frozen or processed as juice or puree; or dried for use in jams, jellies, pies, muffins, cakes, scones, cheese, cereals and snacks. Wine is also prepared from blueberries.

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)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 10" tube pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and 1/4 cup margarine until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Alternately, add dry ingredients and milk to sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
  4. Spread 2/3 of batter into greased and floured pan; top with blueberries.
  5. Pour the remaining batter on top and spread evenly.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  7. Using pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/4 cup margarine until mixture is crumbly.
  8. Stir in nuts and sprinkle mixture over batter.
  9. Bake at 350° for approximately 55 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.
  10. Cool 10 minutes and 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.
  2. 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.
  3. To make the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  4. 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, a small quantity at a time, beating after each addition. Beat until smooth.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Source: producepete.com

Blueberry Muffins Recipe

No-Bake Blueberry Pie Recipe

References and Studies

  • 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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Dr. Vaibhav Patni on June 02, 2014:

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...

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on October 19, 2013:

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

Mary Craig from New York on October 19, 2013:

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.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 29, 2013:

Hi Kas,

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

Kas from Bartlett, Tennessee on January 27, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 06, 2012:

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.

Dr. Prof.Afzal Khan on December 03, 2012:

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

Dr. Prof.Afzal Khan on December 03, 2012:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 24, 2011:

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.

Dexter Yarbrough from United States on December 24, 2011:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 22, 2011:

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

ActiviaUK on December 22, 2011:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 21, 2011:

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

Kawaljit kaur from JALANDHAR, Punjab (India) on December 21, 2011:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 21, 2011:

@ 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.

JCielo from England on December 21, 2011:

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!

Yvonne Spence from UK on December 21, 2011:

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! :-)

Stoill Barzakov from Sofia, Bulgaria on December 20, 2011:

Great hub, I cannot write it better.

Arizona Sue on December 20, 2011:

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

BlissfulWriter on December 20, 2011:

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.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on December 20, 2011:

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!

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on December 20, 2011:

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~

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on December 20, 2011:

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!

awordlover on December 20, 2011:

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