The month of June brings on summer and heralds blueberry season in South Carolina.
Blueberries are a delicious fruit native to North America and Native Americans called them star berries as the flower is in the shape of a star. This perennial bush grows all over the U.S. and 38 states produce blueberries commercially.
Small but mighty, blueberries provide 84 calories per cup and are high in fiber, Vitamin C and K, potassium and manganese. They also contain many different antioxidants, which protect against damage to our cells and help fight aging. One antioxidant called anthocyanin gives blueberries their unique and rare purplish-blue color. The numerous antioxidants in blueberries give them a high rating for improved health. Research indicates some of the following benefits:
Reduces DNA damage which helps prevent aging and risk of cancer
Helps maintain healthy bones
Prevents heart disease by lowering blood pressure and LDL (cholesterol known as the “bad” cholesterol)
Helps maintain brain function and improve age related memory decline
Fights urinary tract infections
Prevents soreness and fatigue after strenuous exercise
The perfect blueberry has a silver sheen on the skin called the bloom which helps protect the fruit. Wash the berries right before eating.
There are many ways to eat blueberries. They are delicious on their own for a snack or add them to salads, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal and smoothies. They are popular in baked goods including muffins, quick breads, energy bars, crisps, cobblers, and pies. Blueberries are easy to freeze or make into jams or jellies while the supply is plentiful. Other fun additions are using blueberries in cocktails, infused water, lemonade, popsicles, fruit slushes or even barbecue sauce.
No matter how you like blueberries, make sure to grab a boost of blue!
Blueberry Turmeric Smoothie
Courtesy of the US Highbush Blueberry Council
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 frozen bananas
1 cup blueberries
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
½ tsp. minced fresh turmeric
½ cup ice
In a blender, add all ingredients and blend until smooth. Divide in 2 glasses.
For more information on adopting healthier lifestyle changes, contact Kitty Finklea, lifestyle coach, registered dietitian and personal trainer at McLeod Health and Fitness Center, 843-777-3000.