Blueberries are small round and purple-blue berries that belong to the family Ericaceae. They are further classified in two based on how they grow: Highbush blueberries grow to 10-12 feet tall while lowbush blueberries can only grow to 1-2 feet tall.
Blueberries are among those with the highest anti-oxidant value in fruits. These help remove free radicals from the body. Furthermore, the combined amounts of potent vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E in blueberries also help limit free radical mediated injury to body. Because of this, blueberries help prevent certain cancers, aging, degenerative diseases and infections. While this is the main feature of this sweet and juicy fruit, it also contains soluble dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins that optimize a person's health and wellbeing. Moreover, research has shown proof that the chlorogenic acid in blueberries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood glucose levels in people with type-II diabetes mellitus.
Blueberries also contain small amounts of niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid that help body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Its potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc content also benefit the body in many different ways. Potassium helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is crucial in the manufacture of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper, meanwhile, is necessary in the production of red blood cells while iron is required for red blood cell formation.
While blueberries can be eaten on its own or as a very delicious component of a blueberry cheesecake, turning them into a blueberry smoothie is one of the best ways to drink up all its nutrients. Not only are these drinks health-giving, they are also delicious and easy-to-prepare. Blueberry smoothies are also great for snacks or as meal substitute for those who seek to lose a few extra pounds. Here's a sample blueberry smoothie that you can easily make in your own kitchen:
You only need a cup of frozen blueberries, ½ cup of yogurt, a cup of milk (soy, skimmed or regular-- the choice is yours) and 1 tablespoon of sugar (or 4 tablespoons of honey). Blend the sugar for about 5 seconds first, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend on high until your desired consistency. Serve on chilled glasses and serve immediately.
Another blueberry smoothie recipe to try is a combination of one cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen), 7 oz vanilla yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 cup ice. Simply blend all these ingredients into your blender or smoothie maker for about 30 seconds or until it gets to your desired consistency and serve.
Mixing blueberries with other fruits also makes for a great smoothie. Try blending together 2 cups plain yogurt, 1.5 cups orange juice, 1.5 cup skim milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup frozen strawberries and 1 cup frozen peaches for a sweet- tangy blueberry smoothie.
Protein powders and other nutritional supplements may also be added into your blueberry smoothie to meet other nutritional needs. For example, whey protein powders may be mixed in for those who are on the road to gaining more muscle. Oats, wheatgrass and almonds may also be added to make your blueberry smoothie even healthier.