In the United States, the average American has a varied diet consisting of meats, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, and everything in between. It is this varied diet that allows us to be healthy. While all food helps to keep us alive, some food is more helpful to people then others. For example, a fast food hamburger is no where near as beneficial as something like a well balanced kale salad. With getting things like nutrient intake, calories, fats, sugars carbohydrates, vitamins, and everything else under control, eating healthy can seem like a full time job.
That is where the idea of ‘super foods’ comes into play. Imagine if there was a single food, or a couple food types that satisfied a lot of your dietary needs? If this sounds too good to be true, then think again.
Lets take a moment now to review the pros and cons associated with blueberries. While there is no debate about blueberries and nutritionists and scientists agree that they are an excellent source for what our bodies need, there are still a number of reasons why people prefer to either love or hate them.
The Pros Of Blueberries
Blueberries find their way into all parts of our diet through a number of different forms. Along with having a long shelf life and being relatively easy to grow, blueberries provide an incredible range of health benefits as well as nutrition. Along with its skin softening qualities, blueberries can be sold in a wide range of forms and purchased depending on your needs. From blanketing hilltops to growing twice as tall as us, blueberries are truly a remarkable berry.
1. Blueberries Have A Long Shelf Life
Unlike other fruit sold in the US, blueberries have a remarkably long shelf life. This shelf life outlast blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and most other popular forms of fruit. Having a long shelf life means that transportation and shelving costs are lower then other berries. In addition, blueberries can last longer in your fridge or left out then other berries. Given enough time however, even the best berries will go bad, so eat them while you have the opportunity!
2. Antioxidants, Anthocyanins, and Phenol
One reason why blueberries are considered a ‘miracle fruit’ is because they contain antioxidants, anthocyanins, and phenols. Along with boosting the immune system and slowing degenerative disorders, blueberries can help fight cancers and provide a level of health well into late adulthood.
Blueberries can help to prevent cancer, can help to prevent cogitative decline normally associated with the aging process, can prevent bone loss on people, can lower the blood pressure of people, can reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, can hold off and reduce the chances of getting diabetes, can help to prevent urinary tract infections by making it more difficult to bacteria to form along the interior walls, can reduce inflammation after injury, and can reduce exercise induced oxidative stress. Being a list of its proven uses, scientists and nutritionists are continuing to find new and innovative ways that blueberries help us reach and maintain a healthy state.
3. Excellent Source of Nutrients
Ignoring the high levels of antioxidants, anthocyanins, and phenols for a moment, blueberries also contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and potassium. With relatively few calories per the large amount of benefit they provide, blueberries are seen as a ‘super food’ because they meet multiple dietary requirements at once. In addition, they can be served a surprising number of ways.
4. Can Go Into A Wide Variety of Dishes
Say you need to buy blueberries at the store. What kind of blueberries are you looking for? Depending on your need and how you are cooking them, blueberries come in the most diverse forms available. For example, you can purchase frozen blueberries if you need to hold them for a while and they are not going into anything fresh. You can also buy fresh blueberries if you need them immediately and their freshness is important.
Canning is another alternative if you want to preserve blueberries and not as much damage is done when compared to freezing. You can also get dried blueberries if you want to hold onto all the nutritional content while dropping the excess weight associated with the water. This makes them perfect for hiking, cereals, and homemade protein bars. If you want to drink blueberries, then there is any number of juices out there as well, with varying levels of blueberries in them. There are also jams. Heck, if none of this is working for you, then consider blueberry beer?
The long and the short of it is that blueberries come in all forms and can make their way into an incredible array of dishes. From dishes to sweet desserts to baked goods, blueberries have an amazing number of uses.
5. Revitalizes The Skin
So far, all of our pros have concerned the versatility of blueberries as well as the benefit they provide when consumed. Blueberries can also provide healthy skin treatments. Consider combining blueberries, brown sugar, and lemon juice together. Mash the blueberries up until they form a mixture and everything is dissolved. Remove excess particulates and apply to your skin.
The blueberry helps to soften the skin with its antioxidant properties while working in conjunction with the brown sugar and lemon juice. Together they form a unique and practical skin care formula.
The Cons of Blueberries
There are far more pros for blueberries then there are cons. In fact, finding cons for blueberries requires being very picky and dedication when confronted by the thousands of voices out there speaking to the benefits of blueberries. With that in mind, blueberries may pose a health risk because they are treated with pesticides, they may cause damage if consumed in too large quantity, and it is possible to develop an aversion to eating them.
1. They May Be Treated With Pesticides
Pesticides are sometimes necessary to keep the blueberries healthy and intact long enough to be harvested. That being said, pesticides will mean having to treat your blueberries prior to eating. If you forget, then you risk accidently poisoning yourself or someone you care about. As always, practice good food safety and be practical.
2. Eating Too Many Can Cause Muscle Problems
Eating or drinking too much of anything can result in problems. Water for example if consumed to an extreme can become toxic. Blueberries are no different. With their high level of antioxidants, it is possible to cause short to mid range muscle damage by consuming large quantities of blueberries. This is caused by an imbalance of antioxidants that damage the muscle. The damage will go away in time.
3. Texture and Taste Are Not Pleasant For Some
The biggest complain that people have against blueberries is a personal one. Some people hate the texture of blueberries. There is something about the fleshy meat of the berry that people cannot stand. Getting around this, people will still enjoy blueberries prepared in ways where the flesh is not the same, like in dried blueberries or in a drink. Other people simply don’t like the sweet taste. Still, there are others that hate both the texture and the taste regardless of what form it’s in.
4. Instinctively Avoid Blue Colored Food
There is a commonly held belief that humans as well as other mammals instinctively avoid things that are the color blue. Mostly associated with poison in nature, blueberries are one of the only blue things people eat. While there are many other blue fruits and berries out there, they are poisonous to people and can potentially cause severe damage. As a result, people say that because blueberries are blue, their aversion to the fruit is instinctual and based in a primitive human drive not to poison oneself.
What Exactly Are Blueberries?
The common blueberries, also known by their scientific name as Vaccinium Cyanococcus, is a perennial flowering bush. It produces indigo colored berries, and it is related to bilberries and cranberries. Ranging from a few inches to over 10 feet in height, the blueberry that we are familiar with is native to North America and is commonly broken into two categories including low blueberry bushes and high blueberry bushes.
Often referred to as a ‘superfood’ and ‘miracle fruit,’ the blueberry has a reputation for providing a range of health benefits when consumed in appropriate amounts. From dieting to stopping cancer, the blueberry has an incredible legacy in American culinary circles. With that in mind, lets review the extensive list of pros, as well as the cons of the blueberry.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Any kind of food will always have its detractors. Blueberries are no different. While some people hate the taste, others hate the texture. Sometimes sprayed with pesticides, blueberries can also represent a health risk if too many are consumed at once. Despite this however, they maintain their role as a ‘super food,’ fulfilling many of the nutritional needs in our diet.
In addition, they can help to strengthen the body against a number of different ills, providing benefits for individuals of all shapes and sizes. In addition to this, their long shelf life, ease of growing in this climate, natural abundance, variety of preserving and preparing types, and general tastiness make them hard to pass up. In the end, whether or not you like blueberries comes entirely down to your own subjective experience.