It's no secret that the blueberry is one nutritious piece of fruit. Hardly a month goes by without some new study adding to its list of healthy benefits. The blueberry continues to dominate the super foods category.
Recently, The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published an article stating the benefits of drinking wild blueberry juice to help fight the onslaught of dementia and mild depression. The preliminary twelve week study conducted with a group of older people noted significant improvement in the area of word recall and paired learning.
The secret to the blueberry's power is found in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. In addition to harboring anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, anthocyanins also help the neurons that fire away deep inside your brain. Early Native Americans, the Chippewa, may have been on to something when they inhaled the smoke of slow roasted dried blueberries. They claimed this practice would drive out the evil spirits that could cause madness in a person.
The health benefits of consuming blueberries go way beyond that mass in your cranial cavity. They work wonders in strengthening your digestive tract and in maintaining gastrointestinal health. Those all important anthocyanins are credited with inhibiting the growth of colon and ovarian cancer cells. For urinary tract health, blueberry juice contains the same compounds as the cranberry. These compounds help your bladder lining to ward off E. coli bacteria an instrumental cause in urinary infections.
A well publicized study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology detailed the benefits of blueberries in reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration by improving blood flow in the surrounding capillaries. The study suggests that eating at least 3 servings per day really increases the inherent antioxidant power of the blueberries.
The healthy blueberry is well represented in the annals of folk medicine. Blueberry root tea was given to pregnant women in labor to help ease the pain of childbirth. Early settlers also believed that blueberry juice helped to alleviate stubborn coughs while the high amount of natural vitamin C in blueberries made them a good choice for treating scurvy.
Blueberries that are firm and ripe with a deep rich color are considered to have the highest amount of antioxidants. Keeping them refrigerated in a closed container will insure freshness for about a week. Only wash the berries when you are ready to eat or juice them. If you decide to freeze fresh berries make sure they are dry. This will help to minimize the mush factor and stabilize the vitamin content.