The powerful blueberry
by Joanne Henning Tedesco —
As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries have been enjoyed here for hundreds of years.
Blueberries range in vibrant colors from deep purple-blue to blue-black and are highlighted by a silvery sheen called a bloom. They have virtually no fat, are low in sodium and contain about 80 calories per cup, with many nutritional benefits.
Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is necessary for the growth and development of tissues and promotes wound healing. They also contain manganese, which helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients, such as carbohydrates and protein. And they are rich in polyphenols, which have an antimicrobial and anti-oxidative effect.
Research shows that their specific fiber content can alleviate and protect against intestinal inflammations, such as ulcerative colitis. The protective effect is increased if the blueberries are eaten together with probiotics.
The combination of blueberries and probiotics reduces inflammation-inducing bacteria in the intestine while increasing the number of health-promoting lactobacilla.
In tests comparing blueberry husks with rye bran or oat bran, the blueberry fiber showed the greater benefit for intestinal health. Blueberries contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and are known to be helpful in relieving both diarrhea and constipation. In addition, they are rich in the soluble fiber pectin, which helps to lower cholesterol.
Sources: blueberrycouncil.org, whfoods.com.
Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AZNetNews.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 35, Number 1, February/March 2016.