Health benefits of blueberries
Blueberry is very low in calories. 100 g fresh berries provide only 57 calories. However, the berries contain health benefiting soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely for optimum health and wellness.
Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant value fruits. The ORAC value of 100 g fresh blueberries is 5562 TE (Trolex equivalents). Their antioxidant value largely derived from poly-phenolic anthocyanidin compounds such as chlorogenic acid, tannins, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.
In addition, these berries have other flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotene ?, lutien and zeaxanthin.
Altogether, the phyto-chemical compounds in the blueberry help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the body, and thereby, protect the body from cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections.
In addition, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus condition.
Fresh berries contain small amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. Altogether these vitamins make potent lipid soluble anti-oxidants, help limit free radical mediated injury to body.
The berries also contain small amount of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
In addition, these berries contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.33 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.4 g||6%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.124 mg||2.5%|
|Vitamin A||54 IU||2%|
|Vitamin C||9.7 mg||1.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.57 mg||4%|
|Vitamin K||19.3 µg||13%|
Selection and storage
Fresh blueberries are readily available in the markets all around the year due to imports from across the continents. However fresh wild berries are at their best from June until August when the harvest season begins in Michigan and Maine in USA and from Quebec province in Canada.
In the stores, look for fresh berries that are firm, plump, smooth-skinned, with a silver-gray surface bloom. Buy deep purple-blue to blue-black berries. Avoid soft or shriveled, over-handled bruises berries and those with signs of mold and of old stock.
Once at home place the berries in a plastic or zip pouch and store in the refrigerator set with high relative humidity where they keep well for up to a week.
Blueberries may rarely cause serious allergic reactions in some sensitized individuals. Most often, these kinds of reactions occur because of possible cross-reactions to other fruits (strawberry), pollen or weed allergies. Some of the most common symptoms of blueberry allergy may include swelling and redness of mouth, lips and tongue, eczema, hives, skin rash, headache, runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing and gastrointestinal disturbances. Individuals who suspect allergy to these fruits may want to avoid eating them.
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