By Joanne DeMarchi, MS, RD, IBCLC, clinical dietitian at CHOC
Summer is the height of berry season, and no berry says summer more than the blueberry. Blueberries contain dietary fiber, vitamins A and C and are one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world. Here is the scoop on blueberries.
High fiber foods benefit digestive and heart health. 1 cup of blueberries provides 3.6 grams of fiber. Add that to a cup of oatmeal or other whole grain cereal and your meal will provide almost 20% of your fiber goal for the day.
One serving of blueberries (about 1 cup) provides 25% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the most common antioxidants and contributes to healthy gums, absorption of iron and healthy capillaries, formation of collagen and a healthy immune system.
Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals — unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant activity.
If you are traveling this summer, why not find a farm to go blueberry picking. Six states account for more than 90 percent of the crop: Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia and Washington. Use this website to find blueberry farms in these and other US states where you can pick your own. http://www.nabcblues.org/index.html
Once you’ve picked your berries pour them over cereal or yogurt, add them to fruit or green salads for a delicious, healthful taste of summer. Keep blueberries in your diet during the rest of the year by trying this frozen blueberry smoothie recipe. It makes a great grab and go breakfast treat.
Frozen Blueberry Smoothie recipe
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2-3 ice cubes (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth or to desired consistency then serve.
- Calories: 243
- Total Fat: 2.9g
- Total Carbohydrates: 43.8g
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Sugars: 40.7g
- Protein: 11.8g
To learn more about Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services at CHOC, please visit http://www.choc.org/services/index.cfm?id=P00321.