Food Profile: Blueberries

Blueberries are second only to strawberries in popularity in the United States.  They are one of the very few fruits that are native to North America, so be proud of these little bundles of joy.  Blueberries have a wide range of health benefits, making them one of the healthiest foods you can put into your body.

Phytonutrients – Phytonutrients are simply nutrients that are found naturally within a certain food.  Almost every single nutrient found in blueberries – too many to list – serve either an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory role within the body.

Antioxidant – antioxidants serve to fight against free radicals within the body.  F.R.’s are known to damage cellular structure and DNA, making individuals susceptible to sickness and disease development.  The interesting thing about blueberries is that their antioxidant support seems to be a full body task.  Most antioxidants focus on one particular area or system within the body, but blueberries have been shown to affect every system within the body!

Cardiovascular – consistent consumption of blueberries has been shown to improve fat balances, decrease total cholesterol, raise HDL levels, and lower triglycerides.  It has also been proven to protect cells lining blood vessel walls, helping to improve blood flow and overall cardiovascular function

Blood Sugar – When comparing to other fruits, blueberries are not “super low” in their GI rating (GI rating is essentially how quickly your blood sugar is elevated by a certain food).  Blueberries score around a 50, while some other fruits have been scored at 30-40.  With that, however, blueberries have been reported to have positive effects on overall blood sugar, particularly in people with Type II Diabetes.  This is because they contain about 15% of our daily requirement of fiber.  Even though they’re higher amount fruits, blueberries have a relatively low GI rating when compared to other foods.

Blueberries, fresh
1.00 cup
(148.00 g)
GI: low
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
nutrient amount DRI/DV
(%)
Protein 1.10 g 2.20
Carbohydrates 21.45 g 9.53
Fat – total 0.49 g
Dietary Fiber 3.55 g 14.20
Calories 84.36 4.69

 

Blueberries, fresh
1.00 cup
148.00 grams
Calories: 84
GI: low
Nutrient Amount DRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin K 28.56 mcg 31.7 6.8 very good
manganese 0.50 mg 25.0 5.3 very good
vitamin C 14.36 mg 19.1 4.1 very good
fiber 3.55 g 14.2 3.0 good
copper 0.08 mg 8.9 1.9 good

How much do we need??

There are a lot of different recommendations out there for fruit/vegetable servings per day.  Since were talking about a fruit here, I’ll limit to that.  Some organizations so you only need about 2.5 cups of fruit per day, while others believe you need closer to 3-3.5 cups to see the full benefits of fruits.  So I will put it somewhere in the middle, saying 2.5-3 cups of fruit per day.  Now, this doesn’t all have/need to come from blueberries.  But, because of their superb health benefits, they should be a key part of your everyday food intake.

So, next time you’re in the grocery store, make a note to throw some of these bad boys in the cart.  Throw them in some oatmeal for a great breakfast, or take them with you to work and make them a healthy snack.  Either way, this food choice is too healthy to not have in your diet.

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