Blueberries are delicious little health gems. In addition to their sweet flavor, blueberries provide a variety of health benefits. Did you know that research has shown that blueberries are good for heart health? The number one cause of death among men and women is cardiovascular disease. Conditions that can significantly increase one's risk for developing cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, obesity and high blood-lipid levels. In combination these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome. In a variety of studies, blueberry consumption has shown positive effects on reducing risk of metabolic syndrome.
Some research studies indicate that for individuals with diabetes, consuming blueberries can help lower blood glucose levels. Studies conducted over a long period of time showed that individuals who consume a high intake of fruit, particularly fruits with high amounts of antioxidants and anthocyanins, such as blueberries, had a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Additional studies are resulting in positive news about blueberries and memory deficits and cancer prevention, particularly breast cancer. While additional studies are needed, it is hopeful that blueberry consumption will help in the prevention of some cancers and brain health.
Known as a super food, blueberries are fat-free, offer 80 calories per cup, are high in vitamin C and provide a good supply of dietary fiber. Blueberries are easy to select, store, and can be used in a variety of culinary ways. Here are a few suggestions of ways to eat blueberries:
- Add to cereal.
- By the handful you can't grab a better snack.
- Add fresh or frozen blueberries to your pancake or waffle batter.
- Make a yogurt parfait by layering blueberries, Greek yogurt and granola in a tall glass.
- Sprinkle into a tossed salad.
- Add to cottage cheese or yogurt for a light lunch.
- Make a salad with fresh husked corn and blueberries.
- Make a smoothie.
- Use as a topping on vanilla ice cream.
For additional recipes see the Blueberry council website
Corn and Blueberry Salad
- 6 ears fresh sweet corn
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped*
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- In Dutch oven bring salted water to boiling. Add corn. Cook, covered, 5 minutes, or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs.
- In a serving bowl combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. For dressing, in screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover; shake well to combine. Add to salad; toss. Cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 24 hours). Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Nutrition Facts (Corn and Blueberry Salad)
Per serving: 152 kcal cal., 6 g fat, 211 mg sodium, 26 g carb., 3 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 4 g pro.
*Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
Lenelle Bear is the Region Nutrition Links Regional Coordinator which is one of the many programs of Penn State Extension.