Posted on July 16, 2014
July is National Blueberry Month
July is National Blueberry Month, and what better way to celebrate that to look at the great health benefits of this delicious fruit. Blueberry consumption has increased over the past two decades as studies have shown time and time again that these little berries are power packs of nutrition. Since July is their peak harvesting season, there is no better time to enjoy some. Here are five great health benefits of eating blueberries.
- Anti-aging. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant level of any fresh fruit. Natural antioxidant vitamins and minerals give your immune system a boost and slow down the signs of aging.
- Visual Health.Anthocyanosides are vital for healthy eyes and are found in abundance in blueberries. These compounds help preserve vision and reduce the degeneration of eyesight that is often a part of the aging process.
- Metabolism. Polyphenols found in blueberries have been shown to help eliminate belly fat and increase metabolism. Since blueberries are also low in calories, they are a great snack for those who are watching their weight.
- Strong Bones. Blueberries also contain manganese, which promotes healthy bone structure and growth.
- Fiber. One serving of blueberries contains 15% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber. This means improved digestive health without constipation or intestinal pain.
Bonus Benefit. They just taste great! The advantages to our health from blueberries are significant, but we would enjoy them anyway. The sharp, sweet taste of these tiny, dark berries is like no other fruit and is wonderful fresh or in recipes. Here is a delicious recipe for you to try for Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes.
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Source)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl. Whisk ricotta, egg, egg white, buttermilk, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
Brush a large nonstick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon oil and place over medium heat until hot. Using a generous 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, pour the batter for 2 pancakes into the pan, sprinkle blueberries on each pancake and cook until the edges are dry and bubbles begin to form, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil, batter and berries, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Per serving: 238 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 68 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 3 g fiber; 334 mg sodium; 128 mg potassium.