A few years ago I attended a lecture given by a research scientist who literally got his PhD in blueberries. After many years of study, he concluded that blueberries (and other berries too, like raspberries, blackberries and strawberries) are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. They have extremely high levels of all sorts of beneficial components with scientific names such as: anthocyanins, flavanols, catechins, phenolics, and proanthocyanidins.
Basically what all of these fancy terms tell us is that blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants, a term with which you may be slightly more familiar. With an ORAC score (measurement of antioxidant capacity) of between 9,000 (cultivated) to close to 13,500 (wild), blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant foods we commonly eat.
Antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables and they are beneficial because they neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals, which are compounds that cause cell and DNA damage. It is widely believed that free radical damage underlies many different illnesses, and perhaps most importantly, the aging process itself.
This scientist had been specifically studying the effects of blueberries on the brain and had very impressive results to share, especially in the aging brain. Also, interestingly, his research is showing that blueberries in their whole form are much more effective at destroying free radicals and bringing about positive effects in the brain than the very same antioxidants synthesized and taken separately.
Of course blueberries are delicious eaten by the handful or in pies, but one of my favorite ways to eat them this time of year is in the form of homemade frozen blueberry yogurt. For those of you with a sweet tooth who tend to eat way too much ice cream this time of year, give this a try. It will satisfy not only your taste buds, but also your conscience, as you now know how beneficial blueberries are for you!
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
Prep time: 5 minutes
1 cup plain or vanilla organic yogurt
3 cups organic frozen blueberries
natural sweetener (for instance honey or agave nectar) to taste. This is optional – you can always just add a little vanilla
Blend all ingredients together in a blender and serve right away, or put in the freezer for one hour to solidify, and then serve. Substitute other berries like raspberries or blackberries or strawberries, or mix a few different berries together for more flavor combinations.