Sweet, juicy blueberries are tiny powerhouses of flavor and nutrition. They punch up the taste of many meals. They are delicious on their own, but also blend well with other ingredients. Blueberries are a superfood because they come with a potent supply of nutrients that keep your body functioning properly and protect you from heart disease, high blood pressure and more. Research has even linked a key nutrient in blueberries to reduced body fat.
Blueberries, like other kinds of fruit, are considered SmartCarbs on Nutrisystem. That means that they’re high in vitamins and fiber, and measure low to medium on the Glycemic Index.
One cup is the appropriate serving size of blueberries when you’re losing weight with a Nutrisystem plan. That cup of blueberries comes with just 84 calories. It has 3.5 grams of fiber, 14 milligrams of vitamin C and 114 milligrams of potassium.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Anthocyanins are compounds that give many plant foods their blue, purple or red color. They’re abundant in blueberries, as well as red grapes, raspberries and eggplant. These plant pigments play a major role in plant physiology and may provide health benefits to humans. Anthocyanins have been shown to act as antioxidants within the body, protecting cells from damage that can lead to illness and disease.
A team of researchers studied the impact of anthocyanins on our health and reported their fascinating findings in the scientific journal Advances in Nutrition. Their study found that people with a high anthocyanin intake reduced their risk of heart disease by 25-percent and their risk of suffering from hypertension (or high blood pressure) by up to 10-percent.
High anthocyanin intake also was associated with up to 9 percent lower fat mass and “less central adiposity” or belly fat.
Buying and Storage
Blueberries are at their peak in midsummer in the U.S., so you can pick them up fresh from many local farms at that time. Blueberries from warm climates are typically available in supermarkets from spring to fall. When choosing packages of blueberries, look for fruit with smooth, unbroken skin that’s deep purple to almost black in color. The silvery coating, or “bloom,” on the berries is normal. Check for any signs of mold and note that stains on the container indicates some of the fruit is bruised and will spoil quickly.
You can store fresh blueberries for a couple weeks in your refrigerator, but don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. This prevents mold from forming on the fruit. Blueberries are easy to freeze: spread washed blueberries out on a cookie sheet or tray and place them in the freezer overnight. Once they are frozen solid, store them in air-tight plastic bags or containers.
Frozen blueberries are easy to pop into smoothies, pancake batter and many other dishes without defrosting them first. When buying frozen berries, be sure to get packages with just the fruit—no sugar or syrup added.
Easy to Enjoy
Blueberries are delicious all by themselves and in fruit salads. You can add fresh berries to a bowl of cold or hot cereal or mix them into a serving of fat-free plain yogurt for a balanced PowerFuel and SmartCarb combo. Frozen berries work well in a wide variety of recipes. Here are a few of our favorite ways to harness the power of this superfood:
1. Blueberry Glazed Salmon >
The fruit is heated along with balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary and lemon juice to create a simple but delicious sauce for oven-roasted or grilled fish. Get our Blueberry Glazed Salmon recipe here! >
2. Blueberry Peach Feta Salad >
Two summer favorites, peaches and blueberries, give this superfood salad a sweet taste that complements the tender lettuce, tangy feta cheese and crunchy pine nuts. Get the Blueberry Peach Feta Salad recipe here! >
3. Mini Pancake Bites >
Here’s a warm breakfast that everyone in the family will love, even when they have to eat on the go. Check out our Mini Pancake Bites recipe here! >
4. Creamy Blueberry Smoothie >
Check out this easy recipe that shows you how to use blueberries to make a perfect smoothie in minutes. View the full Creamy Blueberry Smoothie recipe here! >
5. Air Fryer Skinny Blueberry Cheesecake Donuts >
When you’re craving a treat but want to stay on track to your weight loss goal, whip up a batch of these yummy, healthy donuts made with real cream cheese. Try our Air Fryer Skinny Blueberry Cheesecake Donuts recipe here! >
Hungry for more superfood blueberries? Click the link below for a list of fun ideas for enjoying the flavor of this fresh fruit: