July is National Blueberry Month, and it’s no coincidence that blueberries are abundant and in season this month. Blueberries are nutritious and incredibly tasty, so you should be sure to add plenty to your diet this month. The USDA recommends that both men and women get 2 cups worth of fruit every day, and blueberries are a wonderful way to help meet that quota.
When you think of blueberries, you picture those little spheres of deep blue or purple and about how they burst with sweetness and flavor. There’s no denying that blueberries are delicious, but they offer plenty of nutrients as well. This is especially true of raw blueberries. You may enjoy blueberry jams, or tossing handfuls of blueberries into the batter of your pancakes or muffins, but raw blueberries provide the most nutrients.
Blueberries contain an antioxidant flavanoid called anthocyanin. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, anthocyanin is responsible for giving blueberries their rich color and has a number of health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, cardiovascular disease prevention, obesity control, and diabetes alleviation.
Blueberries are also high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. A single serving of blueberries contains close to a quarter of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet.
There have also been claims that blueberries help promote brain health. Studies suggest that blueberries can help reduce the memory loss effects of age-related illnesses like dementia, and in some cases improve memory.
Like all fruits, blueberries are naturally low in fat and cholesterol. And like other fruits, blueberries are associated with a number of other health benefits including improved heart health and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.
With all of the health benefits that blueberries have to offer, it should come as no surprise that blueberries are on of the most popular fruits around. This year, It’s estimated that blueberry production in North America will reach 735 million pounds, and consumption is projected to be over three pounds per person!
Blueberries are now available in Northwest Arkansas at your local farmer’s market and at several local farms where you can even pick your own berries.