July is National Blueberry Month and because everyone loves blueberries, we wanted to highlight some of the health benefits of a pretty power-packed fruit. Aside from adding wonderful color to smoothies (a great way to hide greens for your kids), blueberries contain special compounds or phytochemicals that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack by a whopping 34%! As well, these special nutrients are one of the highest antioxidant fruits and have been shown to improve memory, soften skin, support eye health, support normal blood sugar, prevent muscle fatigue after exercise, protects the colon and nervous system not to mention providing an abundance of antioxidants which help your your cells remain healthy and strong.
Freezing them has little to no effect on their nutritional value which makes them perfect for blending into cool summer drinks. Recent studies have also shown that the nutrient value of organic vs commercially-grown blueberries is significant. It was also clear that buying locally-grown blueberries provided an even greater amount of these important phytochemicals. They are high in vitamin K and manganese, both important for bone health. For the maximum health benefit, try to consume 3 cups per week.
So next time you’re at the farmer’s market, be sure to pick up several baskets of blueberries, some to eat fresh and the rest to freeze. And maybe even freeze a few extra to freeze for later use!
Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes:
Blueberry Colada Smoothie
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
1 cup ice if using fresh blueberries
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup pineapple juice
1 ripe banana
1 Tbs. honey if desired
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and serve.