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Fresh Blueberries

Fresh Blueberries

As acknowledged by the North American Blueberry Council and the United States Department of Agriculture, July is Blueberry Month.  What a tasty celebration this will be!  In addition to the wonderful flavor that blueberries provide, there are also many health benefits related to consuming these juicy fruits.  Some recent research suggests the following:

  • Consuming blueberries on a regular basis may assist in lowering cholesterol levels.  A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry from 2010 looked at hamsters, which have cholesterol levels that are raised by high-fat foods similarly to humans.  These hamsters were fed high-fat foods and then provided blueberry juice and or skins total cholesterol in the hamsters given blueberry supplements had total blood cholesterol levels 22 to 27 percent less than hamsters that did not receive blueberries.  Very low density lipoprotein levels (VLDL) in the blood were also lower by a Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry about 44% for the hamsters consuming blueberries.
  • Blueberry consumption may improve heart health by lessening the build-up of plaque in the arteries.  Also in 2010 a Journal of Nutrition article stated that mice were used to look at plaque build-up in the aortas, and that mice that were given forms of blueberries had at least 39% less build-up than mice that did not eat blueberry powder.

Other studies are looking to see if there are correlations between blueberry ingestion and decreased risk of breast cancer and stronger bones, thus helping in the prevention of osteoporosis.

We know that blueberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber and potassium which help us build up immunity, maintain healthy blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes, and enhance nerve and muscle function.

Back to the part about blueberries tasting great!  The University of Maine has a factsheet with good info and tasty recipes that include blueberries.  Try one out for yourself as you celebrate National Blueberry Month.

Lemon, Blueberry Chicken Salad and Blueberry Scones

Sources:

Fishman, Lisa and Nellie Hedstrom. “Wild Blueberries.” 2008. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications. 8 July 2013 <http://umaine.edu/publications/4263e/&gt;.

Wood, M. “Agricultual Research Service.” May/June 2011. United States Department of Agriculture. 8 July 2013 <http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may11/fruit0511.htm&gt;.

Author:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer:  Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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