Blueberry season is only a few short weeks away, so it’s perfect time to learn about health benefits of these little blue orbs. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of blueberries.
When is Blueberry Season?
Depending on your location, the North American blueberry season is from April until October, while the mid-summer months of June, July and August are peak season. The blueberries are available first in the southern state of United States and then the later harvests are in the northern states and Canada.
What are the Different Types of Blueberries?
There are two types of blueberry varieties. These include highbush and lowbush. The highbrush variety are grown in 38 states across America. However, the states of Michigan, Georgia, Washington, New Jersey, Orgeon and California produce over 90 percent of the total crop annually. The providence of British Columbia, in Canada is the number one growing region north of the border. The lowbush blueberries are primarily grown in Maine and Eastern Canada.
The highbush blueberries are also referred to as “domestic”, while the lowbush are referred to as “wild” blueberries. It is usually the highbush variety that are available in the produce department of your local grocery store or at your local farmers market.
What are the Health Benefits of the Blueberry?
Improve Eye Vision
Due to published research, blueberries naturally contain high amounts of powerful anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are also responsible for the blue hue of this tiny blue fruit. The presence of anthocyanins helps to strengthen capillaries in the eyes and peripheral circulation. Basically, this means they help to maintain blood flow both in and around the eyes. With improved blood flow in the eye area, this may be the reason for the claims of improved vision and lesser occurrences of eye irritations.
Blueberries are Good for the Brain
Blueberries are also an excellent source of flavonoids. The specific flavonoids in the blueberry actually are believed to be able to strengthen neuron connections in the brain. These more powerful connections can lead to increased short-term and long-term memory capability for the individual. By the improved connections this may allow the neurons to regenerate, thus having additional positive effects on memory function.
Helps Fight Urinary Tract Infection
Blueberries provide similar benefits in urinary tract health as cranberries. This means they can help prevent the binding of bacteria to the bladder walls and assist in treating and even preventing a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Helps Lower Blood Sugar
Fortunately, blueberries are a low-glycemic food. According to the Glycemic Index, blueberries rank 53 on the scale making them a low glycemic food. The Glycemic Index ranks foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels. All of the foods on the index are compared with white bread with a score of 100. Foods with a score with 70 or more are categorized as high, 56 to 69 are rated as medium and foods with 55 or lower rank low on the Glycemic Index.
A low GI ranking is preferred for those individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and watching their sugar intake. Consuming low GI foods, including blueberries, may have significant impact on the regulation of maintaining health blood sugar levels.
Tips to Include Blueberries Into Your Diet
- Fresh Blueberries: When in season, you can find fresh blueberries at your local farmers market or product section of your favorite grocery store.
- Frozen Blueberries: These are an excellent choice for enjoying with recipes including pancakes, muffins or over waffles.
- Dried Blueberries: More versatile than the frozen or fresh. Simply enjoy as a health snack while at work or traveling. They taste great when tossed into breakfast cereal.
- Blueberry Juice: Finding 100% blueberry juice may be difficult to find in your local store, since many companies blend blueberry juice with other fruit juices. Also, each serving of the juice delivers over 16 grams of sugar.
- Blueberry Capsules: This is a very convenient and concentrated way to enjoy the natural health benefits of this fruit without the sugar. When searching for blueberry capsules look for capsules that are pesticide-free, certified kosher and vegan friendly.
To learn more about the natural health benefits of fruit and read more about the benefits of blueberries, check out the Super Fruit Handbook