Whether you enjoy them packed into a muffin or straight off the bush, blueberries are a sweet treat just about everybody loves. At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we love this berry not only because it’s tasty, but also because it’s packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients!
For example, just one cup of blueberries provides 24% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. One cup also clocks in at only 84 calories, so seconds (or thirds) won’t wreak havoc on your waistline.
There are loads of ways seniors in the Heartland can incorporate this antioxidant-rich superfood into a healthy diet on a daily basis. If you need ideas, we outline a few below. But first, let’s explore some of the ways blueberries deliver a healthy punch!
Blueberries are packed full of anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid, or plant compound, that possesses a powerful antioxidant effect. On top of the health benefits it provides, anthocyanin is also responsible for this juicy fruit’s distinctive blue color!
Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers who work blueberries into a balanced diet will enjoy a number of benefits, like the following:
1. Reduced Memory Loss & Cognitive Decline
A recent study that looked at blueberry consumption in adults over the age of 60 came to two key conclusions: First, participants who ate one cup of blueberries every day showed a 72% increase in semantic memory, or long-term memories not drawn from personal experience (i.e. recalling basic facts).
Second, participants 94 years of age and older who had already begun experiencing memory decline saw an uptick in daily memory performance, felt better, and committed fewer mistakes after incorporating this superfruit in their diet.
2. Fights Inflammation & Cancer
Blueberries contain antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. These nutrients ward off inflammation and can inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.
3. Stronger Bones
The blueberry is considered nature’s multi-vitamin for good reason! It contains iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K, all of which are key elements in maintaining bone strength.
4. Heart Healthy
A Harvard study found that regular consumption of anthocyanins, the flavonoid found in blueberries, reduces the risk of heart attack by 32% in women. In addition, they’re chalk full of heart-healthy compounds like fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B.
The positive effects from consuming blueberries seem endless and aren’t exclusive to what we’ve highlighted here. Blueberries have also been found to play an integral role in decreasing blood pressure, boosting mental health, improving skin health, and preventing diabetes!
Part Of A Balanced Diet
Now that we’ve explored how blueberries benefit our bodies and minds, let’s talk about how to incorporate these superfruits into a healthy eating plan! Here are some of the Seniors Helping Seniors® team’s favorite ways to build a blueberry-full and delicious diet:
Grab A Handful!
Blueberries are sweet and juicy on their own, and just what the doctor ordered. And, at less than 100 calories per cup, a handful of blueberries makes an ideal guilt-free snack!
Tip: In the Heartland, peak blueberry season falls between late July and September!
Whip Up A Smoothie
Smoothies are a convenient and healthy addition to a balanced diet. You can prepare them in about 5 minutes (just reach for the frozen fruit!) and there are endless flavor combinations to explore. Leafy greens like spinach or kale, bananas, Greek yogurt, and strawberries are all great options. Just don’t forget the blueberries!
Use As A Tasty Topper
Oatmeal is a nutrient-rich breakfast that’s filled with antioxidants and gut-healing qualities. To make this breakfast even better for you, add a cup of blueberries to the mix! They’ll give your bowl a burst of color and add a beneficial boost to your morning.
Seniors Helping Seniors® companions love helping those we serve discover new methods for incorporating superfoods into their diet. Put your heads together and see how many ways you and your caregiver can come up with to punch up breakfast, lunch, or dinner with this beneficial berry!