Superfood Series: Little Berry, Big Nutrition

The nutritionally dense and disease fighting blueberries remain at the top of my heart healthy food list. The berries contain high amounts of vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients and are low in calories, saturated fat and sodium. Regular consumption of blueberries will have a powerful effect on your body’s health.

The antioxidant effect of blueberries can be attributed to a compound known as anthocyanins. Approximately 400 anthocyanins have been naturally found in plants and may help promote health1. Specifically, the anthocyanins in blueberries have been found to decrease inflammation, thereby reducing stress on the body and heart2. Who knew the tiny berries could be so beneficial for your health?

Amazingly, one cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of soluble fiber! Soluble fiber may help lower your cholesterol by preventing its absorption in the body. Also, fiber helps keep you fuller, longer. With only 80 calories per cup, blueberries can be a guilt-free addition to any heart healthy diet.

Incorporating blueberries into your healthy lifestyle could not be easier. Blueberries can be added to any healthy breakfast dish—yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, whole-wheat pancakes or whole-wheat waffles. Also, blueberries work well with any fruity dessert or sherbet. Place them on top of a fresh, green salad or a fresh fruit salad to add color and nutrition. Like any fresh, juicy food, blueberries are always delicious by themselves. Eat up, my friend!

By Laura Oliver, MS, RD

1Basu A, Rhone M, Lyons TJ. Berries: Emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(3):168-177.

2Youdim KA, McDonald J, Kalt W, Joseph JA. Potential role of dietary flavonoids in reducing microvascular endothelium vulnerability to oxidative and inflammatory insults ( small star, filled). J Nutr Biochem. 2002;13(5):282-288.

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