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Blueberry thrill! Indulge in nature’s gift of health

» What’s so important about antioxidants?

Do antioxidants fight disease?

While some scientists question whether taking antioxidant supplements help fight disease, most health experts agree that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Researchers have found that:

  • nutrients from fruits, vegetables and other foods may affect the body differently than nutrients in pills
  • nutrients may be more effective when consumed in combination
  • eating nutrient-rich foods over many years may help more than short-term consumption

Berry sauce

Try making this easy sauce with blueberries. Enjoy it on French toast, waffles, fruit salads, sorbet, yogurt or cottage cheese.

  • 16-oz. package frozen, unsweetened blueberries
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

Defrost the berries and puree in a blender or food processor. In a medium saucepan, bring berry puree and cornstarch to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Serves 6. Per serving: 28 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 0 g protein

Adapted with permission from the American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Copyright © 2004. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.

Here’s proof that amazing health benefits can come in small packages: The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranked wild and cultivated blueberries numbers one and five on a list of the top antioxidant-rich foods. This means that sprinkling a handful of blueberries onto your cereal or into your salad not only adds flavor and sweetness—it may help you live a longer and healthier life. Plus, blueberries are packed with fiber, vitamins and other nutrients that studies show may protect your cells from disease.

What’s so important about antioxidants?

Antioxidants fight damage to cells from rogue molecules in the body called free radicals. Experts think this damage may speed the aging process and lead to cancer and heart disease.

Among the tiny blueberry’s powerhouse antioxidants are anthocyanins—plant chemicals that give the fruit its blue pigment. Studies show anthocyanins may help:

  • improve your memory
  • clear your arteries
  • improve your coordination
  • enhance your vision
  • strengthen your blood vessels
  • fight urinary tract infections
  • promote weight control
  • reverse aging

Blueberries also contain:

  • quercetin, which may protect brain cells against damage linked to Alzheimer’s disease
  • ellagic acid, which may prevent certain cancers by deactivating carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and slowing cancer cells’ reproduction
  • pterostilbene, which may reduce cholesterol

That’s a lot of health protection for just 40 calories a half-cup—and you don’t need a prescription!


© 2014 Dowden Health Media