Blueberries are one of the most popular and tasty superfoods available, with the added benefit of being something you can essentially grow yourself with relative ease. The health benefits of blueberries are numerous and varied, rich as they are in vitamins and antioxidants. Research has also shown that introducing portions of blueberries into your diet could reduce your risk of heart disease too.
What is a superfood?
Superfoods are foods which are particularly good for you. They tend to be rich in vitamins and minerals, fibre, and healthy fats. Some popular superfoods include sweet potato, avocado, broccoli, garlic, raspberries, and tomatoes. Also included under the ‘superfood’ heading are nuts such as almonds, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Fitting superfoods like these into your diet isn’t difficult, and there are plenty of websites out there that can provide you with healthy superfood recipes.
What makes berries a ‘superfood’?
Berries as a rule are particularly good for you. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all come into the superfood category alongside blueberries, as they are rich in antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin C for a healthy immune system, and vitamin K which helps blood to clot properly.
Blueberries, and all the superfood berries, also contain polyphenols. These are particularly important because they have been shown to help protect the body against oxidative stress. What this means is that polyphenols, and the fruits and vegetables that contain them, can protect against cancer and heart disease. According to NHS research, women who consume 3 or more portions of berries a week can reduce their risk of heart attacks by 32%.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are rich in phytonutrients, which some believe could help fight against cancer and age-related degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Evidence for this is inconclusive, but there are still plenty of reasons to begin adding them to your diet.
The main vitamins and minerals contained in blueberries are vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Manganese itself is an excellent mineral, supporting bone and skin health, helping to control blood sugar, and acting as an antioxidant. Additionally, blueberries are a good source of fibre (almost 4 grams per 1 cup serving), keeping your digestive tract in working order.
There is also some reason to believe that blueberries could improve insulin sensitivity, and so are an excellent dietary addition for diabetics.
Adding blueberries to your diet
Superfoods can be easily integrated into your diet, but they should always be included as part of an all-round balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins. Consuming blueberries, and any other superfood, alongside large amounts of unhealthy fats and sugars, is unlikely to have the same beneficial effect on your health.
Add blueberries as one of your 5-a-day by adding them to yoghurt or porridge in the morning. They can be used to top any healthy cereal. You could also add them to a salad, or as part of a blueberry smoothie. Blueberry muffins and pancakes are a popular choice, and there is no reason why these can’t be done in a healthy way by making small changes. For instance, use honey or another natural sweetener instead of sugar, and switch regular flour for wholemeal, coconut flour, or oatmeal. Healthy blueberry recipes are easy to come by, so why not try some today.