Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month? Here’s why you should color your plate with this royal-hued summer fruit!
They’re a nutrition dynamo
One cup of blueberries packs 36 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K — a building block for bone health — 24 percent of the antioxidant vitamin C, four grams of fiber, 84 calories and zero grams of fat.
They help prevent illness
Blueberries contain the antioxidant anthocyanin. Studies suggest it helps protect our nervous system and blood vessels, wards off inflammation, and may help lower the risk of diabetes.
Eat these little blue gems to help decrease the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. They also may be involved in cancer prevention.
They boost brain and body function
Studies reveal that blueberries help improve memory, balance and coordination. That’s why you look sharp in blue!
Four cool facts
- Native Americans believed blueberries had magical powers. According to the legend, The Great Spirit sent “star berries” to feed hungry kids during times of famine.
- A single bush can produce up to 6,000 blueberries annually.
- The blueberry muffin is the official muffin of Minnesota.
- The U.S. blueberry season is from June through early September. The blueberries you find during other months of the year are likely to come from New Zealand, due to continental differences in growing seasons.
Four shopping and storage tips
- Choose blueberries with a deep blue color and covered with a chalky white “bloom.”
- At the market, shake the container to make sure berries don’t stick to the bottom, which may indicate mold and spoilage.
- Store unwashed berries in a covered, moisture-proof container (preferably, placed in a single layer) in the refrigerator for up to one week. Wash right before eating.
- To freeze unwashed berries, spread them uncovered on a cookie sheet. Afterward, transfer to a plastic, freezer-safe bag and store up to one year.
Toss this fun, versatile fruit into yogurt, cereal, green salads, over pancakes and waffles, or invent your own bluesy twist. Happy eating!
Toby Amidor is a registered dietician and the owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition.