The local berry season is in full swing here in Vancouver, so I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight one of my favorite superfoods… the blueberry! If you look around, you may find some varying definitions of what is considered to be a ‘superfood’. It has become a very popular term in recent years resulting in many producers trying to jump on the band-wagon. The definition I find to be most appropriate is as follows:
A superfood is any food that has an exceptionally high amount of phytonutrients and may provide significant health benefits as a result.
But what’s a phytonutrient? This is another developing term. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds or components of plants which may play a substantial role on human health and wellness.
Now let’s consider the reasons why blueberries fall into the superfood category.
Excellent source of vitamin C – When we think of vitamin C, we often turn to oranges. But there are many other fabulous sources, like blueberries. Vitamin C is not just good to help fight off the sniffles. It is also crucial for a happy liver, healthy eyes, thyroid support, adrenal function, immune boosting and even allergies.
Significant source of dietary fiber – We can always use a bit more fiber in our diets. Blueberries provide a nice amount to help get things regular. Adequate fiber helps maintain optimal cholesterol levels, improve intestinal health, promote thyroid function, aid in liver detoxification and reduce skin conditions, such as psoriasis.
Wonderful source of manganese – Not to be confused with magnesium, manganese has been shown to have a large impact on proper bone development, protein, fat & carbohydrate metabolism, as well as improve mental issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Exploding with antioxidants – The key component which puts blueberries over the top is the incredible level of antioxidants. The powerful phytonutrients are used to neutralize the damaging effect of free radicals. Our bodies are continually bombarded with free radicals which are trying to tear electrons away from the health tissue cells in our body and create illness. The antioxidants found in blueberries can help to combat these dangerous pests. Antioxidants are related to a strong immune system, well-functioning eyes, arterial support, healthy intestines and an optimal digestive system.
It’s easy to see why I have decided to feature blueberries as one of my favorite superfoods. The health benefits of these little blue beauties are seemingly endless! Now that summer has finally arrived here in Vancouver, we can all enjoy the work Mother Nature has done in order to provide us with these fabulous healthy treats!