Blueberry | What is Blueberry Fruit | Health Benefits of Blueberry Fruit | Blueberry Fruit Juice | Uses of Blueberry | Nutritional Value of Blueberry
Blueberries are flowering plants of the genus Vaccinium with dark-blue berries. Species in the section Cyanococcus are the most common fruits sold as “blueberries” and are mainly native to North America.
Blueberries are small fruits of a shrub tree, which belongs to the heath (Ericaceae) family. Other members of this family include cranberry, bilberry, azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. These berries grow in clusters and vary in size from that of the size of a pea, to the size of a marble. The colour often ranges from maroon to purple black. The flesh of the blueberries is semi-transparent and encases tiny seeds. The berries, which are cultivated are mildly sweet, whereas those which grow in the wild are more tart and tangy in flavour.
They are round and flattened in shape. They have a crown like structure at the bottom, and a depressed ring at the top of the fruit. Blueberries are usually around 1/2 inch in diameter.
* Blueberry-Brigitta: This variety is a late season variety producing large, firm, and light blue berries. The shrub of this cultivar is upright and usually grows to a height of about 6 feet. The berry borne by the variety is large, crisp and rich in flavour and texture. Thus they make an excellent option for freezing as well as eating fresh. The fruits ripen towards the end of August.
* Blueberry-Chandler: This variety of berries is large, firm and has a wonderful flavour. Each berry weighs about 2g. The bush is extremely attractive and grows low to a height of about 150 cms.
* Blueberry-Earliblue: As the name of the berry suggests, it matures early as compared to the other varieties. The berries borne by the tree are large, juicy and have a mild and sweet flavour. The berries grow in medium sized clusters and ripen in the beginning of July.
* Blueberry Top Hat: It is an extremely nutritious variety, which also makes for an extremely ornamental plant. The berries produced are extremely plump and and make an ideal ingredient in pies, muffins and jams
Blueberry is a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber and soluble and insoluble fiber like pectin. It contains anthocyanin, phenolic, antioxidant pigments, phytochemical and ellagic acid, that prevents cell damage, inflammation and cancers.
* Anthocyanin and phenolic act as antioxidants, and neutralizes the free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells(the ground substance of all body tissues) and tissues, that lead to cataract, glaucoma, varicose vein, hemorrhoid, peptic ulcer, heart disease and cancer. These free radicals damage the cell membranes and DNA, causing dysfunctions and diseases associated with aging. Anthocyanin intensifies the effects of vitamin C, improves capillary integrity and stabilizes the collagen matrix of the cell.
* Blueberries provide a good cardio protection as compared to wine, which is also rich in anthocyanin.
Nutritional Value of Blueberry Fruit:
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||239 kJ (57 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.4 g|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.04 mg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.04 mg (3%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.42 mg (3%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.1 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg (8%)|
|Vitamin C||10 mg (17%)|
|Vitamin E||0.6 mg (4%)|
|Calcium||6 mg (1%)|
|Iron||0.3 mg (2%)|
|Magnesium||6 mg (2%|
|Phosphorus||12 mg (2%)|
|Potassium||77 mg (2%)|
|Zinc||0.2 mg (2%)|
|manganese 0.3 mg||20%|
|vitamin K 19 mcg||24%|
* Blueberry extract is used to enhance nighttime visual ability, promote quicker adjustment to darkness and restore visual acuity after exposure to glare.
* It lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), and prevents occurrence of this severe form of vision-destroying disease.
* Blueberries minimize the effects of age-related diseases such as, Alzheimer’s or dementia, and protects the brain from oxidative stress.
* Blueberries contain ellagic acid and highly soluble fiber pectin, which blocks the metabolic pathway, that can lead to cancer.
* It also helps in reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
* The anthocyanin and phenolic components in blueberry subdues the risk of colon cancer, and causes apoptosis (programmed cell death).
* Blueberries include a flavonoid called kaempferol, which reduces the risk of ovarian cancer in women by 40%.
* Other benefits & facts: They keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp, close to nature and in a good mood, as they are very good anti depressants. You also need not spend a lot on medicines, neither are there any side effects. Here, there is an interesting thing to know. The deeper the color of the Blue Berries, the more they are rich in anti oxidants and other medicinal values.
So, eat them until your tongue turns blue and live a healthy long life.
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