Blueberries: Your Body’s Free Radical Defender
Whether or not we like it, we’re all exposed to free radicals on a daily basis. These unstable molecules are a result of our cells burning oxygen.This is just another part of the aging process, and as long as we’re living, those free radicals will be bouncing around, causing damage. On top of the naturally occurring free radicals, we also suffer from the free radical damage the environment our diet and lifestyle choices inflict on us (air pollution, toxic chemicals, chlorinated water and tobacco smoke). When left unbalanced, free radical damage becomes the center of nearly all chronic illnesses especially ones so prevalent today, like heart disease and cancer.
Cue the classical-hero-saves-the-day tune! In come antioxidants on the trusty white steed fighting fearlessly by donating electrons to ease free radicals, ultimately stopping them from doing damage. YAY! Thankfully we have been blessed with copious amounts of foods that pack many of these microscopic defenders.
Blueberries to the rescue!
Blueberries top the list of foods rich in antioxidants. The skin from these soft, little, blue treats contains potent antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are a type of flavonoid. Along with being high in antioxidants, anthocyanins and flavonoids blueberries are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Blueberries' high vitamin C content makes them a great immune system supporter. We can all benefit from incorporating more of these types of food on a daily basis (not just when we have a cold or flu!)
Tip: try to pick blueberries that are a dark bluish grey colour with a silvery bloom. Avoid bruised, moldy berries and green berries. If you are unable to get your hands on some fresh organic blueberries, you can buy frozen ones. The berries are usually frozen as soon as they are picked, locking in their nutrients, making them just as nutritious. To clean blueberries, place them in a basin of cold water. Any debris will float to the surface and can then be skimmed off. Make sure that the blueberries aren’t soaking for too long as they will become water-logged.
Blueberries contain a plethora of nutrients, making them a wonderful ingredient to add into your everyday meal preparations!
Here is a fun and delicious recipe to incorporate blueberries—Blueberry Banana Chia Seed Parfait. This treat is a hit with kids and is easy enough to get little fingers involved in the preparations.