Blueberries Fight Diabetes

Wednesday, 22 September 2010 08:52 AM

They’ve been touted so much as a brain food, it’s easy to ignore the broader health benefits of blueberries. In addition to being good for memory, the berries can help to lower blood pressure and prevent diabetes, today’s fastest growing disease.

Researchers from Louisiana State University have found that eating blueberries daily significantly helps to reverse the process that leads to diabetes and heart disease. In the study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, people added freeze-dried blueberries to smoothies, using an amount equivalent to eating two cups of fresh or frozen blueberries per day.

Another study, by researchers at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma, found that blueberries significantly lowered blood pressure. This study used a similar amount of freeze-dried blueberries.

Eating two cups of blueberries every day may not seem realistic. Not to worry. You will benefit from one-half to one cup, if you make it a habit.

Fresh, Frozen, or Juice

Fresh blueberries make a tasty snack or a healthy dessert, and have become quite easy to find during most of the year. Frozen ones are even more convenient, and just as nutritious.

To thaw frozen berries, the trick is to lay them out on paper towel in a single layer, to preserve their shape and texture. For a quick thaw, put the paper towel on a microwave-safe plate and heat on a low setting for 15 to 30 seconds. Test a small batch first, as microwave strengths differ.

To get a quick nutritional boost:

• Add blueberries to peanut butter sandwiches.
• Spread a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese on toast and top with blueberries.
• Mix blueberries into plain yogurt.
• Sprinkle them on cereal or cottage cheese.

Blueberry juice is another option. For example, Odwalla (www.odwalla.com) makes Blueberry B Monster (in the antioxidant section under the Products tab). Later this month, the company will also have blueberries in a nutrition bar: Blueberry Swirl Superfood, made with real-food ingredients.

Get More Creative

Blueberry juice can also be turned into a sauce. TrueBlue (www.trueblueberry.com), which makes a variety of blueberry juices, recommends heating their juice on medium heat in a saucepan until it thickens, stirring in the process.

A blueberry sauce works well on chicken, pork, duck, venison, or any other meat that tastes good with a fruity accent. A dab of butter can add a velvety texture but it certainly isn�t required.

Bueberries are also extremely versatile in more complex desserts and sauces, smoothies, chilled soups, breakfast dishes, marinades, and salad dressings. For a variety of recipes, check out www.blueberrycouncil.org.

Keeping things simple, try adding a special touch to everyday salad by mixing oil, sweet or mild vinegar and blueberry juice for a fruity dressing. It�s especially tasty on greens that are somewhat bitter, such as arugula or mache, and on spinach. And, it doesn�t hurt to top each serving of salad with a handful (about half a cup) of fresh blueberries. Who said greens had to be boring?

© HealthDay

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Wednesday, 22 September 2010 08:52 AM
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