7 big reasons to eat more blueberries

some blueberries on the bush

July is being called national blueberry month, but I think the entire summer should be dedicated to this amazing fruit!

As Dr. Daria said in her post last week, blueberries are a powerhouse little berry that can help us, and our kids, stay healthy. She told about a new study that found blueberries can help reduce damage to brain cells in those who have Parkinson’s disease.

That in itself is amazing. But blueberries go way beyond the call of duty when it comes to healthful compounds. Here are 7 more reasons to stock up on blues, whether you pick them yourself or just grab as many pints as you can from the market.

Eye health: A study found that 3 servings a day of blueberries can lower your risk of getting age-related macular degeneration by up to 35 percent. A compound found in the berry has also been shown to reduce age-related vision loss.

Heart health: A big study of over 93 thousand woman between the ages of 25 and 42 found those who ate the most blueberries (and strawberries) were 34 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. The researchers said that to get this benefit you have to eat at least a half cup of either fruit three times a week.

Bone health: Being high in the mineral manganese, it appears that blues are also good for strong bone development.

Immune system benefits: Blues are high in vitamin C and some specific antioxidants that help to fight inflammation. Now this is a really big deal, because inflammation has been found to play a role in the development of more diseases than you can count. Anything that reduces it should play a starring role in your diet.

Brain health: Research has found that the flavonoids in blueberries help activate areas of the brain that are vital to learning new things and remembering what you’ve learned!

Tummy health: Blueberries are high in fiber and “polyphenols,” which have antimicrobial effects, and that translates into better gut health! But to make that effect even better, when those blueberry compounds were combined with a good probiotic, researchers found that it significantly increased the amount of “good” bacteria.

Urinary tract health: We’ve all heard that cranberries are good at preventing urinary tract infections, but so are blueberries. Like cranberries, blues contain a compound that can actually keep bacteria from adhering to bladder tissue.

Now don’t worry if you’ve gone overboard in acquiring blues because they freeze really well and don’t lose any of their great nutritional benefits in the process.

Just make sure your blues are dry when you put them in the freezer. If you did rinse them, dry well with paper towel before popping in the freezer. Or if you didn’t, just rinse when you take some out of the freezer. (But they really shouldn’t be rinsed prior to freezing.)

Bottom line: Don’t leave the supermarket or farmers market without grabbing some blueberries – and then go back and get some more!

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