July is National Blueberry Month, so what better time to focus on a berry with one of the highest—if not the highest—antioxidant capacities among all fruit? Native to North America, the blueberry’s antioxidant properties support whole body functions like regulating blood sugar, eye health, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function. Blueberries also contain ample amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K1, fiber, and manganese. But it doesn’t stop there; these super berries are nutritious right down to their pigments. Anthocyanin—the nutrient that gives blueberries their color—is associated with good vision and the ability to fight chronic diseases.
Blueberries help to prevent constipation and maintain regularity for a healthful digestive tract because of their fiber content. Dietary fiber is also commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss and weight management by functioning as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. High fiber foods increase satiety, or the feeling of being full, and reduce appetite. Feeling fuller for longer can reduce a person’s overall calorie intake.
One cup of fresh blueberries contains:
0 g of cholesterol
1.1 g of protein
0.49 g of fat
21.45 g of carbohydrate
3.6 g of dietary fiber
14.74 g of total sugars
That same one-cup serving provides 24 percent of daily vitamin C, 5 percent of daily vitamin B6 and 36 percent of daily vitamin K. Blueberries are also a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, f zinc and folate. Blueberries also contain copper, beta-carotene, folate, choline, vitamins A and E, and manganese.
As well as anthocyanins, vitamins, and minerals, blueberries contain a diverse range of phenolic compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and chlorogenic acid. These contribute to the antioxidant capacity of blueberries.
>>Quinoa Blueberry Muffins
On the stove, bring ½ cup of quinoa to a simmer, then reduce to low and cover for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and grease the muffin pan with a dab of olive oil. Combine 1 ¼ cups flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl and mix with quinoa until mixed well. Whisk together ½ cup low-fat yogurt, ½ cup agave nectar, ¼ cup oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 egg in another bowl, then add this mixture little by little to the flour mixture and mix well. Fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries, then pour the batter into the muffin pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let muffins cool partially in pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Source: Divya Pramil, divyasculinaryjourney.com
>>Blueberry Mind Bender Smoothie
Combine 2 tablespoons walnuts and 1 ¼ cups vanilla soy milk in a blender and blend from low to high until smooth. Add 1 cup blueberries, 1 banana, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, and ½ cup ice, and blend from low to high until smooth.
Source: 365 Vegan Smoothies: Boost Your Health With a Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies by Kathy Patalsky