By Jessica, Pure Matters
Since 1999 -- with an official proclamation and everything! -- July has been known as National Blueberry Month. Chances are, you’re hip to the fact that blueberries are both delicious and nutritious, but do you know just how nutritious? Let’s take a look at what’s so special about these tiny little fruits, and try my super-easy Red, White and Blueberry Parfait for the Fourth of July.
Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants -- in fact, studies have shown that they rank higher than almost all other fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are important in disease prevention because they help protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals, which helps to strengthen your immune system and prevent chronic diseases like cancer.
Studies have shown that blueberries can help to lower blood pressure, raise the level of HDL, or “good” cholesterol and lower “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol. While much of this has to do with the high levels of antioxidants, blueberries seem to be more successful in maintaining cardiovascular health than other antioxidant foods.
A recent study published in the Annals of Neurology in April linked blueberry intake with increased cognitive function in older adults. The study, which looked at 16,000 women with an average age of 74, found that those who had the highest berry intake had better overall cognitive function and memory.
The high fiber content of blueberries combined with their low glycemic index make them a good choice for regulating blood sugar. Studies have shown that low-GI fruits like blueberries can help to regulate blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes.
Is there anything blueberries can’t do? Not really. Try to incorporate more blueberries into your diet in July, and see what it does for your health! To get you started, here’s an easy recipe to help you kick off National Blueberry Month and also does double-duty as an easy, healthy dessert recipe for the Fourth of July.
Red, White and Blueberry Parfait
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of one lime
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup chopped almonds
- In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, honey and lime juice until well mixed.
Divide one cup of the yogurt mixture between our parfait glasses. Divide strawberries to form another layer, then divide remaining cup of the yogurt mixture to form a layer on top of that. Divide blueberries to make the final layer, and top with chopped almonds.