Blueberries for your health


Recent research shows that blueberries, besides being a tasty and attractive fruit, have health benefits greater than most other fruits. To begin with the basics: one cup of blueberries provides 4 grams of fiber, 85 milligrams of potassium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, about 30% of the daily requirement of vitamin C, and 80 calories. They also contain vitamin A, in addition to beta- carotene; folic acid; and ellagic acid. No fat, no cholesterol and a very small amount of sodium.

Antioxidants, which are believed to have an important role in preventing cancer and heart disease and delaying the aging process, are the big news from recent blueberry research. Studies show that blueberries blue skins contain anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant. One researcher found that "blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidant phytonutrients of the fresh fruits and vegetables we have studied." In a study, volunteers ate five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, providing about 1,600 units of ORAC (oxygen radical absorbing capacity), a measure of the activity of antioxidants; they also found that only one-half cup of blueberries alone provided the same 1,600 units.

Prevention of urinary tract infections: a study has confirmed that the compounds in cranberries that help prevent urinary tract infections are also contained in blueberries and other members of the blueberry family.

We have only summarized the latest scientific research here. Many more details about past and current research are available at http:// the website of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, which also provides a lot of information about all aspects of blueberries.