July is National Blueberry Month, and there are so many reasons we love BLUEBERRIES! Historically, blueberries are native to North America, one of the few, and have been grown and cultivated by Native Americans and later the early settlers.
There are few fruits that have received the same research attention and blueberries are the 'gold standard' when we start talking about antioxidants in foods.
As a SuperFood, however, they are not only health-promoting and disease-fighting, but also and importantly familiar, versatile, easy-to-use and easy to find in the markets in a variety of forms, require minimal fuss (rinse and eat -- no dice, chop, slice), and delicious.
MORE ON BLUEBERRIES:
AVAILABLE AND EASY TO FIND: It's the peak blueberry season! Blueberries are available all year round, but summertime is the time that they are most plentiful. Buy extra and freeze them. You can get them at great prices at your supermarket or green market or even pick them yourself at the farms nearby.
To freeze, make sure the berries are dry, pop the plastic containers they come in into resealable plastic bags and freeze. They won't clump together so you can remove just what you need from the freezer. Remember to wash them before eating.
EASY TO USE: With blueberries in the fridge or freezer, providing healthful food for your family is easy. Blueberries never need to be chopped, peeled, cored or stemmed-just rinse and they're ready to enjoy as a quick snack or recipe ingredient.
VERSATILE: So many ways to serve them -over cereal or yogurt, in refreshing smoothies, to make healthy desserts and snacks, sauces with the main course, in salads. Or -the best way of all- just pop them like candy!
HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS: Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and manganese and a good source of fiber. Only 80 calories per cup.Vitamin C helps keep your immune system strong when you're healthy and a strong defense as we continue to deal with the threat of colds and flu.
According to government surveys, all of us-kids and adults alike-need to eat more fruit every day to be sure we're getting enough vitamins and fiber. One half cup blueberries goes a long way toward meeting our daily need for 2 cups fruit.
Blueberries have antioxidant activity. Although many substances in blueberries contribute to the antioxidant activity, it's the flavonoids-especially the anthocyanins (pigment that makes blueberries blue)-that are the major contributors. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that are linked to the development of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimers. 1/2 cup of blueberries has the antioxidant power of: • Nearly 4 cups of broccoli • 7 cups of tomatoes • More than 10 1/2 cups of spinach
Emerging research suggests that in addition to their antioxidant properties, it may be the anti-inflammatory properties of the flavonoids in blueberries that are reducing the risk and slowing the onset of chronic diseases of aging.
Research has linked blueberries to promoting brain health and recent research suggests they may even play a role in weight management-aside from being low calorie and satisfying-in targeting that pesky belly fat.
Blueberries are a good source of fiber- 2 grams / ½ cup and only 40 calories keep that digestive system working smoothly.
PROMISING RESEARCH ON BLUEBERRIES AND HEALTH: Blueberries boost brain health and may help decrease belly fat. And other promising research in areas of aging, urinary tract health, along with reducing risk of heart disease and certain cancers Several animal studies have shown improved motor skills, and role in reversing age-related short-term memory loss, and may play a role in keeping that pesky belly fat at bay according to recent research this spring from the University of Michigan Helps keep the nerve cells 'talking' to each other in the brain.
Blueberries are easy to use, versatile, and just plain fun.
Simple ways to incorporate blueberries:
- Breakfast-On the go parfait or simple smoothie, or blueberry pancakes!
- Lunch - salad gone gourmet - shrimp and greens salad or easy spin on a waldorf salad using spinach, walnuts, granny smith apples, shrimp, blueberries and blueberry vinaigrette
- Snacks - in yogurts, trail mixes, smoothies, rice krispie blueberry treats or just rinse, pop them in your mouth right out of the fridge
- Hot summer day - blueberry lemonade Desserts and treats: Compotes and crumbles, blueberry-mango colada and of course our beloved blueberry pie.
As a writer, researcher, educator, and food enthusiast, Dr. Wendy Bazilian brings extensive experience in nutrition science and counseling to her work. She is a registered dietitian and an American College of Sports Medicine - certified Health and Fitness Instructor, and Dr. Bazilian's skills in integrating nutrition, fitness and wellness practices help clients and readers who are motivated to reach their health and wellness goals.
Her expertise covers a wide range of subjects in nutrition and health that include optimal eating for active individuals, weight management and healthy aging. She is a professional writer on nutrition and exercise, having published over 150 articles for corporate and other media. Her advice for healthy eating and carefully designed menus can also be seen in recent issues of Real Simple, Martha Stewart's Body + Soul, SELF, Allure, Spa Magazine, InStyle, Redbook, Natural Health and other magazines.
She is author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients (Rodale, 2008). Dr. Wendy's educational background includes degrees from prestigious universities in Public Health and Nutrition and other related fields. She graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor's Degree from Tufts University, then received her Masters Degree from the University of California, San Diego. She completed her Doctoral Degree in Public Health and Nutrition from Loma Linda University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the highest academic honor, the prestigious Chancellor's Award.
As a leader in the fields of nutrition and fitness, Dr. Bazilian is currently involved in a variety of practical, writing, lecturing, and research endeavors focusing on weight management, sports nutrition, women's health, and exercise.
Dr. Bazilian has assisted a wide array of clients of all ages with their nutrition and fitness goals through her private practice at Bazilian's Health Clinic with her husband, Dr. Jason Bazilian, the first doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the United States, in San Diego, California. As a consultant, she provides writing, presentation and consulting services to a variety of corporate and public clients. Dr. Bazilian is also the consulting Nutrition Specialist at the renowned Golden Door spa and fitness resort in Escondido, California. She serves on a variety of national clinical and professional committees that help move the science of nutrition and sound application of nutritional and supplement regulation forward for the public. Dr. Wendy's approach to health is practical and scientific. She believes that, "Good health literally depends on eating nutritious, healthy, delicious foods - yes, in moderate portions and at regular intervals. We are the cumulative effect of what we put into our bodies and burn through activity over time and not the product of any one meal. It's therefore about being empowered to make personal, customized choices about what and how much to eat and not a matter of deprivation or willpower."
Dr. Wendy's (and her husband's) personal and professional guiding philosophy: Eat well. Move daily. Be Healthy.TM