Raise your hand if you hate blueberries! I didn’t think so.
These delicious little berries are currently in season, and boy am I psyched. They’re one of my favorite fruits to include in smoothies, brothicles, salads, baked goods, all things breakfast, even on top of a little ice cream.
I’m also thinking I just might experiment with a blueberry cocktail or mocktail. They’re low in sugar and high on all the good things, so there’s minimal guilt when it comes to indulging.
There is such a strong link between diet and health, so I also think about how to optimize the potential benefits of whole foods like blueberries. When we’re eating the right kinds of food, our brains can flourish and grow, and cell regeneration in our body increases. Communication, mood, cognition and physical performance can all drastically improve when we’re fueling ourselves with the right stuff, and blueberries are a little super fruit that really pack a nutritional punch. Here’s the lowdown:
- Blueberries are high in antioxidants – my little all natural anti-aging secret. Antioxidants work to reverse harm done by pollutants and free radicals and help your body get rid of hazardous pathogens. Blueberries have a higher amount of antioxidants than any other fruit, so eat up!
- What gives blueberries their beautiful blue color? Anthocyanins, a flavonoid that gives red, purple, and blue plants their color. Anthocyanins are great for eye health, and also protect the brain’s neurons. The neuroprotective effects of blueberries can help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. (Bonus: a few other foods that have neuroprotective properties are cashews, grapes, hazelnuts, mangos, plums, and strawberries.)
- They can help fight inflammation (which we’re all about here at NL) because blueberries are rich in proanthocyanidins. Constant inflammation can lead to a whole host of other diseases, like diabetes, heart conditions, and even certain types of cancer.
- Blueberries are great for aiding digestion. They’re high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help to regulate your gastrointestinal tract. They also contain a lot of gallic acid, which serves as an antifungal and antiviral agent.
- Because blueberries are low on the glycemic index and also high in fiber, they’re absorbed much more slowly into your digestive tract, resulting in stable blood sugars that don’t spike and then immediately drop. If weight loss is your goal, low-glycemic foods like blueberries can help control your appetite and delay hunger cues so you’re not always starving and snacking. Stable blood sugars will also decrease insulin resistance if you’re at risk for or currently have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
These little berries may walk quietly, but they carry a big nutritional stick. And since the best blueberries are available now, keep your fridge stocked with a pint or two. You can also load up when passing through places like Maine where it’s easy to find the small, flavorful local ones. Buy as many as you like and freeze them for sauces and smoothies whenever you want.
Want to share the blueberry love? Check out my recipe for this healthy berry cobbler and share with a friend. Bonus: This is one of those star desserts at the summer picnic or beach party!
NL Blueberry Cobbler
1.5 cups Fresh Blueberries
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened
2.5 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. Almond Flour
2 Tbsp. Rice Flour
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, heat the blueberries, lemon juice and tablespoon of coconut milk over medium heat. Cook them for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries start to break down. They don’t need to be fully cooked, just slightly broken down so some of the juices begins to evaporate. Stir in the vanilla extract and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the softened butter, sugar, and egg. Slowly add in the almond flour, rice flour, baking soda and salt.
Grease a small square baking dish with a little butter and pour in the blueberries. Spoon the cobbler topping in dollops all over the top of the blueberries. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust of the cobbler is nicely browned.
Allow the cobbler to cool before cutting into it. We love to serve it with coconut milk ice cream!