Get a Health Boost with Blueberries

Blueberries prove that good things come in small packages. Not only are they bursting with delicious flavor, but they’re one of the richest sources of antioxidants, thanks to their anthocyanins — the compounds responsible for their blue hue. Blueberries are also an excellent source of ellagic acid and soluble fiber. Studies have found that blueberries may help reduce high blood pressure and total and LDL cholesterol. As with all fruits, blueberries can be enjoyed starting on Phase 2. Here’s more information about blueberries, plus a few delicious ways to enjoy them.

Buying and Storing Blueberries
Most fresh supermarket blueberries are the cultivated kind, not wild picked. You’re more likely to find the wild variety canned or frozen. Blueberries are typically available all summer long, and into September, though you may be able to purchase imported blueberries throughout the year. When buying fresh blueberries, look for those that are deep blue with a chalky white “bloom” that is a sign of freshness. Preferably buy those that have been refrigerated or kept out of the sun, since heat can destroy their antioxidant power. The blueberries should move freely in their container and not be stuck together. Avoid mushy berries or those in stained containers. Blueberries will last in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Make sure to remove any crushed or moldy berries and any unripened fruit, as well as stems, before storing, and don’t wash your berries until you are ready to eat them. You can also keep blueberries frozen in a sealed container for up to a year.

Delicious Ways to Enjoy Blueberries
When on Phase 2 and beyond, enjoy blueberries on their own or as a topping for fat-free or low-fat yogurt or added to high-fiber whole-grain pancakes and cereals. Here are some other fun and healthy ways to enjoy blueberries:

  1. Blueberry walnut salad. Add whole fresh blueberries to a salad that also includes toasted walnuts and reduced-fat feta or blue cheese crumbles. Dress with a raspberry vinaigrette.

     

  2. Sweet blueberry sauce. Prepare blueberry syrup using frozen unsweetened blueberries. Bring 2 cups of blueberries to a simmer over medium heat and cook until berries burst and the sauce thickens, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar substitute. Add a little ground cinnamon to taste, if desired. Serve over breakfast pancakes or fat-free Greek yogurt.

     

  3. Blueberry shortcakes. Simply take our recipe for Raspberry “Shortcakes” and substitute 2 cups of fresh blueberries. Make this festive dessert the day you plan to serve it.

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