Some Blueberry History
Blueberries are an indigenous North American species that’s reputation reaches way back in history. When the Europeans arrived, Native American inhabitants were already were enjoying blueberries year round. They were dried in the sun to preserve them. The native inhabitants added whole blueberries to soups, stews and meat. They were also crushed into powder and then used on meat as a rub to preserve it.
It is said that Native Americans gave blueberries to the pilgrims to help them make it through their first winter.The Native American people revered blueberries and many stories developed around them. The blueberry blossom end of each berry called the calyx, looks like a five-pointed star. The tribe elders told stories of how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to keep children from starving during a famine. They also used blueberries for medicinal purposes along with the roots and leaves.
Europeans used blueberries (bilberries – a cousin) for medicinal purposes. The roots were brewed into a tea that was believed to help relax women during childbirth. Bilberry syrup was used as a cure for coughs. Bilberries were also said to improve or give you good eyesight.
Blueberries offer a wealth of important nutrition and health benefits and they are just 80 tasty calories per cup!
An Excellent Source of Vitamin C
One serving of blueberries contains about 25% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. You need vitamin C as an aid for the formation of collagen. It will also help maintain healthy capillaries and gums. They also help you in the absorption of iron and go a long way to help support a healthy immune system.
An Excellent Source of Fiber
Blueberries are a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber is necessary for a healthy heart and will help keep cholesterol levels where they should be.
An Excellent Source of Manganese
Manganese helps you in the development of bones and to metabolize of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
An Excellent Source of Antioxidants
The anthocyanins in blueberries that give them their blue hue are the major contributors to the antioxidants in blueberries. Antioxidants help our bodies neutralize free radicals that are linked to the development of numerous diseases which include cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related diseases like as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
It’s easy to work blueberries into a healthy lifestyle. Add them to cereal, salads, and smoothies or just grab a handful as a snack. Treat your body right – make room for blueberries.