My favorite, sun-drenched childhood memories include late summer rambles in search of wild blueberries in the emerald vista of British Columbia, Canada. The small quantities of the juicy berries that made it into our buckets were taken home to be made into fruit smoothies, jams, or frozen for a delicious surprise in the coming winter months.
Besides tasting delicious, this summer favorite is also brimming with health benefits. The royal blue berries contain antioxidants called bioflavonoids, vitamin C, iron, fiber and other nutrients and medical research shows that this true ‘super-food’ can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and harmful blood clots, inhibit cancer promoting hormones in the body, fight urinary infections, improve digestion, has natural antibiotic properties and can even improve memory.
The native people of North America used the blueberry bush for medicinal purposes, steeping an aromatic tea from its root that was used as a relaxant during childbirth. Blueberry juice was used to soothe coughs and as a tonic that was thought to purify blood.
A Berry Good Remedy:
You may be tempted by more than the delicious flavor to add blueberries to your baking, smoothies, yogurt, and fruit salad or eat them on their own, when you learn of the powerful healing benefits this berry is chock full of.
Blueberries are being singled out as an exceptionally stellar member of the fruit family. According to studies by the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois, compounds found in blueberries help protect and heal the body against a multitude of ailments and diseases including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer and cognitive (brain function) decline.
Blueberries contain a wide assortment of antioxidants that fight against adding and damage to the body caused by exposure to oxygen. Just as a peeled apple turns brown, oxidation also causes wear and damage in our bodies. Blueberries, particularly the wild variety have superior contents of antioxidants in comparison to other fruits and vegetables and are more efficient at cleaning up our bodies.
This boost of antioxidants makes blueberries helpful in a variety of illnesses from bacterial diarrhea to decreasing cholesterol in our arteries. In the brain, blueberries help to improve brain functioning by protecting and enhancing signals between the nerves in our brain and removing inflamed brain neurons.
Researchers also compared the effects of blueberries to the many anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements that are on the market and found that it’s the whole package of this super berry that provides the most potent effects – more reason to pop blueberries instead of pills.
The effect of blueberries is not though to be significantly diminished whether eaten fresh, frozen, preserved or cooked in a scrumptious pie.
Health Benefits of Blueberries:
- Reduce cardiovascular disease, repair blood vessels and reduce blood clotting.
- Power antioxidant qualities that repair and protect the body.
- Have anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties to soothe a sore throat or nasty infection.
- Ease bacterial diarrhea and aid in digestion.
- Prevent and fight cancer-causing agents in the body
- Improve memory and prevent age-related cognitive decline.