The Power of the Blueberry
Do you avoid fruit, or worry about how it will impact your blood sugar levels? You are not alone. The good news is, if you choose to eat fruit, blueberries can be great option. Blueberries rank low on glycemic index scale and are a good source of fiber, both of which can help reduce post meal blood sugar spikes.
The year 2016 marks the 100-year anniversary of blueberry cultivation. In honor of this milestone, I would like to share with all of you some of the nutritional benefits of this tiny blue fruit.
Blueberry Nutrition Facts: ½ cup blueberries, raw (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database)
- Calories: 42
- Protein: 0.5 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Carb: 11 g
- Fiber: 2 g
Blueberry Health Benefits:
- Blueberries rank low on the glycemic index, with an average glycemic index of 53 (a food is categorized as low glycemic if it has a ranking of 55 or less). Choosing low glycemic index foods in place of high glycemic index foods may help improve blood glucose control.
- Blueberries are considered a good source of fiber; with 4 grams of fiber per 1 cup.
- Blueberries contain natural occurring phytosterols. Consuming phytosterols in recommended quantities can help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
- Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C. One cup of blueberries provides nearly 25 % of the daily requirement.
- Blueberries are in rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin. Antioxidants can prevent or slow cell damage.
- Blueberries have been studied for their potential to improve insulin resistance.
A Little Blueberry Trivia:
- Blueberries are native to North American.
- Blueberries were nicknamed “star berries” by Native Americans for the 5-point star at the blossom end of each berry.
- July is National Blueberry Month. July is the peak harvest month for blueberries.
- There are over 50 varieties of blueberries.
- Blueberries can grow mold in as little as 12 hours if they are not stored in a cool, dry place.
How Can I Enjoy Blueberries?
- Fresh - If you prefer a little extra sweetness try sprinkling blueberries with a little Splenda.
- Frozen - Blueberries make a great summer snack that can help keep you cool.
- Mix blueberries into plain Greek yogurt.
- Add blueberries on top of ½ cup of steel cut oats - Add a pinch of cinnamon for an extra flavor boost.
- Add blueberries to a green salad - Add ¼ cup blueberries to 1-2 cups spinach leaves and toss with oil and vinegar.
- Make a blueberry smoothie for breakfast - Combine ½ cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup baby spinach, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, and 3/4 cup unsweetened Almond milk.
- Use blueberries in place of jelly/jam - Toast 1 slice low carb whole wheat bread, top with 1 tablespoon cream cheese and ¼ cup blueberries.
- Make a fruit kabob - Stack blueberries on a skewer with other low glycemic fruits such as cherries, strawberries and blackberries.
- Top whole grain Melba toast with 1-ounce goat cheese and ¼ cup blueberries.
- Make your own trial mix - Combine 2 tablespoons of dried blueberries with mixed nuts and/seeds.
Needs some more recipe ideas? Check out this recipe at Type2diabetes.com:
Do you have a favorite blueberry recipe? Please share with type2diabetes.com community: recipes.
Were the financial costs of type 2 diabetes surprising to you?