Blueberry fields forever

 
By Styliana Resvanis • Published: July 3rd, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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July is national blueberry month, and what better way to celebrate than to learn about all the reasons this beautiful berry helps you stay in tip-top shape.

For one thing, blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, which protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, scientists believe these free radicals can contribute to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease and can speed up the hands of time — or at least the aging process.

A 2012 Harvard Medical School study also revealed flavonoid-filled foods such as blueberries and their red relatives, strawberries, could help delay cognitive decline in the elderly by up to two-and-a-half years. Other recent research suggests blueberries could play a role in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and similar neurodegenerative disorders.

According to the U-S Highbush Blueberry Council, blueberries can also aid in glucose control, and they pack high doses of dietary fiber, vitamin C and manganese, which aids in bone development and converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.

Aside from all the health benefits they offer, blueberries are small and easy enough to grab on the go during busy summer days. Blueberries also make a great addition to recipes, think blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes and blueberry jams.

Of course, sometimes a berry is best left on its own … so next time you’re looking for a quick and healthy snack, try popping a handful of these bite-sized berries — or better yet, stick them in a zippered plastic bag and munch on them while you hit the beach.