The blueberry blues….Not really, but that was fun to say. I’m actually thrilled that blueberries made the list. Blueberries have the highest ORAC values of any fruit in the world. What does ORAC mean? Well, the acronym stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, but that doesn’t really tell you what it means. Bottom line, ORAC is a rating system that scientists use to test antioxidant power. To understand the ORAC scale, think about a football team. For your team (Go Steelers!) to go to the playoffs, you need all the players to work well together and not just have one superstar player. That is what the ORAC rating tells you: the level of benefit you receive from all the antioxidants and phytochemicals combined.
Antioxidants are important because they neutralize the free radicals, which are linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and more. Wild blueberries also show the greatest anticancer activity of any other fruit. Blueberries contain compounds like anthocyanin that are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. As I learn more about inflammation in the body, I’ve discovered that it is a bad, bad thing. Inflammation can contribute to a whole host of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
If that wasn’t enough, blueberries are a great brain food. They actually help the neurons in the brain communicate with one another more effectively. This can help with memory loss, balance and coordination.
Did you know that blueberries are actually one of only three fruits native to North America? The other two are cranberries and Concord grapes.
I bought pint of blueberries and had planned to eat them over yogurt or in my cereal, but when I got home last night, I discovered that my baby sitter had given my kids the blueberries for their special treat after dinner and the two of them polished off the entire pint! I couldn’t be more thrilled! Have you noticed that kids will sometimes eat something that they normally wouldn’t without complaint if someone other than their Mom gives it to them? If I would have told them that blueberries were their special treat, I would have heard whining and complaining. Maybe I’ll start giving them fruit for their dessert every night!
I do want to share a great recipe with you that I have had for dessert on occasion and it is decadent and healthy. I simply take ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt and top it with frozen blueberries. I let it sit for about ten minutes and the Greek yogurt gets slushy and the blueberries thaw out a bit. I sometimes add a little honey if the berries are not sweet enough. Yum!
If you have any blueberry recipes, please share!