Blueberries

Food
Blueberries

Tart, colorful and, most importantly, full of vitamins, blueberries have everything. These little blue berries are available on the market throughout the summer, right through to end of September. Wild blueberries, which are very dark blue in color, grow in particular mountain ranges such as the Vosges and the Massif Central, but most commercially-available blueberries in France are in fact from the “bleuet”, or “blueberry”, family of berries, which originate from North America. These blueberries, considered to be a shrub, have a beautiful blue-purple color and have only been cultivated in France since the 1980s.

Nutritional information

Blueberries contain a large number of antioxidant agents, particularly polyphenols and flavonoid acids, including anthocyanins. These pigments give blueberries their attractive blueish color and contribute to cardiovascular health (1). They limit the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, and, in the long term, protect the cellular structure of blood vessels. The antioxidants found in blueberries also act against oxidative stress (2), which disturbs the proper cellular functioning of the entire body. These molecules play an important role in cognitive function by protecting neuronal cells (3). Recent studies have demonstrated the positive effects of fermented blueberry juice against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s (4). Lastly, flavonoids have a hypoglycemic potential as they inhibit blood glucose levels. Regular consumption of blueberries or blueberry juice could therefore effectively combat the development of diabetes type 2 (6) and certain forms of obesity (7).

How to store and taste blueberries

In France, blueberries only grow until the month of September, but these amazing berries tolerate the cold very well. Freezing them is easy and does not affect their nutritional value in any way (8), so you can continue to enjoy them throughout the year. As they don’t peel, organically-grown blueberries should be chosen whenever possible, in order to limit your consumption of pesticides, which are mainly found on the skin of treated fruit and vegetables. Blueberries are easy to prepare and will give a touch of tartness to your desserts, from Canadian blueberry muffins to fresh fruit salads as well as delicious smoothies. Try a raspberry, banana and blueberry detox smoothie - you won’t be disappointed. You can also add them to your muesli to enjoy their vitamins from the moment you have breakfast. Enjoy!

Sources: Passeportsanté; whfoods; myrtille.com.
References: (1) Basu A, Rhone M and Lyons TJ. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Mar;68(3):168-77. Review. 2010. (2) Hurst RD, Wells RW, Hurst SM et al. Blueberry fruit polyphenolics suppress oxidative stress-induced skeletal muscle cell damage in vitro. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Mar;54(3):353-63. 2010. (3) Galli RL, Shukitt-Hale B, et al. Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging: nutritional interventions targeting age-related neuronal and behavioral deficits. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002;959:128-132. (4) Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, et al. Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. J Neurosci. 1999;19:8114-8121. (5) Grace MH, Ribnicky DM, Kuhn P et al. Hypoglycemic activity of a novel Anthocyanin-rich formulation from Lowbush Blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium. Phytomedicine. 2009 May; 16(5): 406-415. 2009. (6) Jenkins DJA, Ssrichaikul K, Kendall CWC et al. The relation of low glycaemic index fruit consumption to glycaemic control and risk factors for coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2011 February; 54(2): 271-279. 2011. (7) Defuria J, Bennett G, et al. Dietary blueberry attenuates whole-body insulin resistance in high fat-fed mice by reducing adipocyte death and its inflammatory sequelae. J Nutr. 2009 Aug;139(8):1510-6. (8) Lohachoompol V, Srzednicki G, and Craske J. The Change of Total Anthocyanins in Blueberries and Their Antioxidant Effect After Drying and Freezing. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004 December 1; 2004(5): 248-252. 2004.

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