Blue berries both wild and cultivated are native to North America. Nutritionally they are fantastic and provide many benefits to general health and fertility. These deep purple berries are believed to be the richest of all fruits and vegetables in antioxidant compounds and also contain anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
They are packed full of the flavonoid Anthocyanin – this natural compound provides blueberries with their rich colour.
What are the health benefits of blueberries?
Blueberries are a rich source of many vital nutrients including folate, vitamin k, potassium and fibre.
Research has suggested that the anthocyanins in blueberries have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control (this is the same for fresh blueberries and blueberry juice). Although blueberries contain moderate amounts of sugar when compared with other fruit, it has been found that the bioactive compounds contained within then, seem to outweigh the negative impact when it comes to blood sugar control.
This is important for those trying to regulate sugar levels such as those with PCOS or diabetes type 2.
Blueberries are also a very good source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. This helps to support the immune system, regulate hormones and reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals to help protect the DNA in sperm and egg cell. It may also help protect against ageing.
Wild blueberries contain a good amount of the Omega 3 fatty acid ALA. Omega 3 fatty acids are important in regulating hormones, may help improve sperm quality, important in foetal brain development and also have been linked to providing a good blood flow around the body.
Blueberries contain a good amount of manganese. This is an important element in terms of sperm quality, regulating blood sugar and reducing inflammation.
How to enjoy blueberries:
- As a snack
- In smoothies
- For breakfast with natural yoghurt, honey and walnuts
- Make frozen yoghurt
- In muffins
- In salads – such as chicken, avocado and blueberry salad or in a ‘very berry salad’
- Blueberry fool
Recipe idea: Blueberry and chia pancakes
Ingredients: makes 8 pancakes (freeze some for another day!)
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add milk and egg. Whisk the batter until combined. Fold in the blueberries and chia seeds gently.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Grease the pan lightly and pour a ladle of the pancake batter into the hot pan; cook until the edges look dry – for about 2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for 1 minute. Enjoy!
Blueberry and orange smoothie
6 oz blueberries
1 orange, peeled and cut into pieces
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
large handful ice
150ml (¼pt) orange juice or water, to blend
Place the blueberries and segments of oranges into a blender (remove the pips from the orange!). Add the banana, ice and juice and blend until smooth. Enjoy!