Spotlight On… Blueberries

Superfoods don’t have to be expensive, exotic or have an incredibly overcomplicated name – a point which blueberries definitely prove. You’re likely to have a punnet of these in your fridge – possibly unaware of the myriad of health benefits that they contain from their anti-ageing properties, to improving memory and even preventing cancer. Whether you throw a handful of these super berries onto your morning oats, whizz them into a smoothie or simply enjoy them as a snack, you’re sure to reap their abundance of benefits and truly boost your health.

5 reasons to eat more blueberries

  •  Antioxidants are found in abundance in blueberries – they even have the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables! Antioxidants  help in reversing the damage caused by toxins and free radicals whilst also helping the body to defend itself against dangerous pathogens, but are incredibly important when it comes to warding off signs of ageing. A particular class of antixodants found in blueberries which help against ageing are proanthocyanidins, which work to reduce inflammation – the cause of most diseases, including heart disease and cancer. It’s also been proven that freezing berries has no negative impact of the levels of antioxidants, so you can save money and boost your health at the same time!
  • Boost Brain Health Blueberries contain a high amount of phenols, such as gallic acid which is beneficial in protecting the brain from degeneration and oxidative stress -which accelerates the brain’s ageing process. Blueberries have even been proven to improve both memory function and learning capacity.
  • Improve Digestion Blueberries are a natural source of both soluble and insoluble fiber; with one cup containing 3.6g, which is almost 15% of the recommended daily amount, they do wonders at helping to regulate your digestion. Blueberries have also shown to have prebiotic properties and work towards increasing the number of good bacteria in your gut, further promoting digestion and overall health.
  • Accelerate Muscle Recovery We all know that aching feeling after a difficult workout at the gym but blueberries can actually help to overcome that – muscle soreness is in part caused by local inflammation and oxidative stress but blueberries counteract both of these, with a study proving that they even have the ability to accelerate muscle recovery.
  • Promote a Healthy Heart Blueberries are the ideal dietary supplement to improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease as they work at lowering blood pressure and strengthening cardiac muscles. Furthermore, the antioxidants found in blueberries have been linked to lowering the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) found in our blood – which is one of the main causes of heart disease. Those who eat 3+ servings of blueberries per week are thought to significantly lower their risk of heart disease.

Blueberries are accessible throughout the whole year however I do recommend buying frozen – not only does it keep costs down (200g fresh blueberries costs £2 at one supermarket, yet you can get 350g of frozen for the same price!) but they taste just as amazing, if not nicer! There are endless ways to enjoy them, but the 5 quick uses below are truly the most delicious way to incorporate more of this superfood into your life.

5 uses for blueberries

  • Whizz a handful into your morning smoothie or smoothie bowl for a boost of antioxidants.
  • Use as a breakfast topping for coconut yoghurt or homemade granola.
  • Simply simmer with water for a simple compote, perfect for stirring into warming bowls of porridge.
  • Make a delicious bowl of raw blueberry-vanilla buckwheat protein porridge
  • Simmer with water, chia seeds, lemon juice and maple syrup for an easy chia jam – perfect for spreading on a slice of rye toast.

What are you favourite ways to enjoy blueberries? Leave them in the comments below or let me know on Instagram @nourishingyas x

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