Fruits and vegetables are vital components of a nutritious diet, and few foods pack a more nutritional punch than blueberries.
Blueberries are touted as a superfood because they are full of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and phytosterols, which are micronutrients that can significantly lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Blueberries also are low in saturated fat and may help lower triglyceride levels. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that women who consume blueberries on a daily basis have lower blood pressure. Researchers in Finland determined a berry-rich diet supports healthy aging, and controls the risk of chronic diseases.
Enjoying a blueberry muffin or a cup of blueberries with breakfast are two ways to consume more blueberries. But there are many more ways to incorporate more blueberries into your diet.
• Make a smoothie. Blend blueberries into a smoothie containing frozen yogurt and other fruit. Drink it any time of the day as a filling snack or even a small meal.
• Whip up blueberry relish. Diced fresh blueberries tossed with onion, diced tomato and various seasonings can be used to top fish tacos or spread on toast rounds.
• Create a fruit salad. Blend together various fresh fruits into a delicious fruit salad. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top to prevent browning of the fruits used.
• Whip up overnight oats. Mix equal parts of almond milk, oats, and Greek yogurt together in a container and let sit overnight. In the morning, mix in some blueberries, adding pure vanilla extract for even more flavor.
• Add blueberries to batters. Mix blueberries into pancake or waffle batters to add extra nutrients to meals.
• Flavor your drinks. Drop blueberries into water, fruit juices, or lemonade for a nutritional boost. Dress up sangria with blueberries for an added punch to this popular cocktail.
• Mix up energy bites. Pair nuts, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, and other healthy ingredients with blueberries. Utilize maple syrup or honey to keep ingredients together, and bake until golden brown. Many different recipes are available online for these types of treats.
• Make Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops. 6 cups watermelon, 1 cup blueberries divided, 1 cup raspberries divided, 3 tablespoons of honey. In blender, blend watermelon, ½ cup blueberries, ½ cup raspberries, and honey until smooth. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds. Fill ice pop molds ¾ full with liquid. Add remaining whole blueberries and raspberries to molds. Insert sticks and freeze at least 4 hours, or until completely frozen. Yum!
Blueberries make nutritious additions to any diet, and there are various ways to incorporate more of this flavorful fruit into your meals.