What are Blueberries?
Blueberries are a variety of berries. Blueberries are in a family that include over 450 varieties of blueberry producing plants. There are two general types of blueberries, high-bush and low-bush. If you frequent the Farmer’s Market or grocery store you’ve probably seen high-bush berries. Low-bush blueberries are used in making shelf products like juices, jams, and baking mixes. The size of berries ranges from a pea to a marble and they grow in clusters on bushes. The outside peel can be a deep blue to purple color. The inside flesh is typically white.
Droppin’ Blueberry Knowledge
Blueberries have long been a part of Native American diet. They were used primarily for natural flavorings and medicinal purposes. They were called “star berries” because of the star shape on the bottom of the berries.
It was believed that they were sent from the stars to nourish them. The berry itself was used in stews or mashed for flavor, the juice was used as cough medicine, and the leaves and roots were ground into powder to treat a number of illnesses. American farmers thought that blueberries could not be cultivated. A daughter of a crop-grower and a USDA botanist teamed up in hopes to experiment and be able to produce a blueberry crop. The first commercial crop of blueberries came in 1916. Now 98% of blueberries are grown in the United States.
Blueberries have numerous health benefits. A majority of the health benefits of blueberries are from the high antioxidant content. These antioxidants help fight harmful free radicals, help prevent cell and DNA damage, and ultimately help prevent aging and the development of diseases.
Blueberries can help promote good heart health and lower cholesterol. The antioxidants in blueberries are strongly linked to reduced LDL levels. Some studies have shown that consumption of blueberries can help cognition and maintain brain function and memory.
A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries
0 g of cholesterol
1.1 g of protein
0.49 g of fat
21.45 g of carbohydrate
3.6 g of dietary fiber
14.74 g of total sugars
Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries.
24% of vitamin C RDI
36% of vitamin K RDI
9 mg calcium
114 mg of potassium
9 mg of magnesium
18 mg of phosphorus
9 mg of folate
These berries can be incorporated in your diet in several ways! They can be eaten plain, as a topping on cereal, yogurt, and oatmeal, in pancakes or waffles, in smoothies, in baked goods such as muffins, pastries, breads, and pies, or as jam and syrup. The options are truly endless!