As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberry have been enjoyed by Native Americans for hundreds of years. They have also enjoyed great popularity around the world in cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean.
Blue Berries can be surprisingly beneficial
In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity of berries. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA.
We recommend enjoying raw blueberries — rather than relying upon blueberries incorporated into baked desserts — because, like other fruits, raw blueberries provide you with the best flavor and the greatest nutritional benefits.
The fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black, and feature a white-gray waxy “bloom” that covers the surface serving as a protective coat. The skin surrounds a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds.
Enjoying raw blueberry
The highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit: Blue Berries, being very rich in anti oxidantslike Anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, iron (promotes immunity by raising haemoglobin and oxygen concentration in blood) etc. boost up your immune system and prevent infections.
Once your immunity is strong, you won’t catch colds, fever, pox and all such nasty viral and bacterial communicable diseases.
You won’t catch colds, fever, pox
Neutralizes free radicals which can affect disease and aging in the body: Blue Berries bring you the brightest ray of hope, for they are laden with anti oxidants and rank number 1 in the world of anti oxidants.
This is mainly due to presence of Anthocyanin, a pigment responsible for the blue color of the blue berries. The abundance of vitamin-C is also a big factor for this as well.
Raw blueberry provide you with the best flavor
Aid in reducing Belly Fat: A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. So far, we know that the fruit works on rats, which were the test subjects.
A blueberry-enriched powder was mixed into the rats’ diet, which was either low-fat or high-fat rat chow. After 90 days, the rats with the blueberry-enriched diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity.
And their health was even better when combined with the low-fat diet. That group had lower body weight, lower total fat mass and reduced liver mass than the rats on the high-fat diet. An enlarged liver is linked to obesity and insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes.
Although more research is needed to confirm these results in humans, a related study presented at the same conference showed that men with risk factors for heart disease who drank wild blueberry juice for three weeks seemed to experience slight improvements in glucose and insulin control.
Get your dose of vitamin C
Helps promote urinary tract health: The building of colonies of certain bacteria like b-coli along the lining of the inner walls of urinary tract is responsible for this infection, resulting in inflammation, burning sensation during in passage of urine and other complications. Here, Blue Berries can be surprisingly beneficial.
It has a compound formed of big polymer like heavy molecules which inhibits the growth of such bacteria. It also has some anti biotic properties which adds to this effect. These heavy and big molecules almost wash-off these bacteria along the tract, thereby preventing the infection.
Fights Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Been proved to preserve vision: Blueberry extract, high in compounds called anthocyanosides, has been found in clinical studies to slow down visual loss. They can prevent or delay all age related ocular problems like macular degeneration, cataract,myopia and hypermetropia, dryness and infections, particularly those pertaining to retina, due to their anti-oxidant properties.
Blue Berries contain a special group of anti oxidants called Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin etc.), Flavonoids (like rutin, resveritrol, quercetin etc.), in addition to others such as vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, selenium, zinc andphosphorus, which are very beneficial and essential for the ocular health.
Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.
Boost Brain Health
Brain Health: The anthocyanin, the selenium, the vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, the zinc, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese etc., among others, can prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons, brain-cells and also by restoring health of the central nervous system.
It is hard to believe that these berries can also cure serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease to a great extent. They even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues and keep your memory sharp for a long-long time.
Researchers found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging animals, making them mentally equivalent to much younger ones.
Dissolve the ‘bad cholesterol’
Heart Disease: The high fiber content, those brilliant anti oxidants and the ability to dissolve the ‘bad cholesterol’ make the Blue Berry an ideal dietary supplement to cure many heart diseases. It also strengthens the cardiac muscles.
In this study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that a moderate drink (about 4 ounces) of white wine contained .47 mmol of free radical absorbing antioxidants, red wine provided 2.0
4 mmol, and a wine made from highbush blueberries delivered 2.42 mmol of these protective plant compounds.
Constipation & Digestion: While roughage (fiber) in Blue Berries keep away constipation (Of course, a single piece alone will not do. You need to eat a big handful of them), the vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose and acids improve digestion.
Excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer
Cancer: Blue Berries can prove to be bliss for the cancer patients, for they contain certain compounds like Pterostilbene (excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer) and Ellagic Acid which, in harmony with Anthocyanin and other anti oxidants like vitamin-C and copper, can do miracles to prevent and cure cancer.
Laboratory studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that phenolic compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death). A significant 34% reduction in ovarian cancer risk was also seen in women with the highest intake of the flavone luteolin (found in citrus).
10. Other benefits & facts: They keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp, close to nature and in a good mood, as they are very good anti depressants. You also need not spend a lot on medicines, neither are there any side effects. Remember, the deeper the color of the Blue Berries, the more they are rich in anti oxidants and other medicinal values.
Chocolate coconut cream cake with summer berries
(inspired by the Linda Lomelino recipe “Chocolate mascarpone cake with summer berries”)
Ingredients to make a 2 tier-cake:
For the cakes:
- 2 cups almond flour ( or any gf flour of your choice)
- 1 cup oat meal flour (or any gf flour of your choice)
- 1/3 cup cacao or organic cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (or substitute with baking powder)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp coconut oil/olive oil
- ¾ cup of coconut sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 3 eggs
- 75 g dark dairy free chocolate (or dark chocolate of your choice with min 85% cocoa)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 – 2.5 cups almond milk (or dairy free milk of your choice)
For the chocolate coconut cream:
- 2 400 ml cans coconut cream (full fat)
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup cacao or organic cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Slightly oil the 8 inch cake pan and 6 inch cake tin.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate large bowl beat together oil, sugar and eggs. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Alternately add flour mixture and milk ending with flour mixture. If you feel your batter is too thick add a little more milk.
- Pour batter into an oiled cake tins and bake for 30 min then check the small cake if a skewer comes out clean. Proceed with a big cake for another 5 – 7 min.
- Let cakes cool completely and then carefully split each cake in two halves.
- Spread one half of the big cake with coconut cream and sprinkle with berries. Arrange a 2nd half of the cake on top.
- Do exactly the same with a small cake.
- Place small cake carefully on top of the big cake. Decorate again with remaining cream and berries.
To make chocolate coconut cream:
- Place cans of coconut cream in the fridge and leave for min of 12-24 hours.
- Carefully scoop out only the firmed part of cream out of the cans. Leave coconut water aside and use it in smoothies.
- Add maple syrup and cacao and beat the mixture until it creamy and smooth.
Coconut cream is not only great as frosting but can also be eaten as it is together with fruits or as a topper to the majority of your favourite desserts or even on top of your hot chocolate! Leave cacao out and you get the original cream recipe.