Friday, 2 September 2011


Blueberries are in the same genus of plants as the British bilberry (also known as whinberry and wimberry) and the cranberry, both of which have amazing health benefits. The blueberry, like all black fruit, blackberries, black grapes and blackcurrants among them, contain anthocyanins which give these berries their blue-black colour.
  There are three basic types of blueberry, all native to the North American continent, mainly distributed in the eastern states. There is the High-Bush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum L., which has astringent qualities so is good for diarrhoea and other digestive disorders, and may also be used for respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma. The Low Sweet Blueberry V. angustiflorum - Aiton, is used in traditional medicine to hasten uterine contractions during childbirth and as a blood tonic and purifier. The third variety is V. constablael – A. Gray which is native to the eastern parts of North America.
   Blueberries have a high vitamin C content and also contain some of the B-complex vitamins, notably B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. Vitamins E and A are also present and these protects the retina in the eye from damage by oxygen and sunlight. As for minerals these berries contain calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are also present as are 18 amino acids, and the flavonoids kaempferol, quercetin along with others. Apart from these other phytonutrients are also present such as resveratol.
  In two separate studies on the elderly, with the average age of 76, drinking between 2 and 2 ½ cups of blueberry juice a day increased memory and cognitive powers. It is believed that this is because of the antioxidant properties of blueberries, although Dr. Jeremy Spencer, a molecular nutritionist at the University of Reading UK, believes that the flavonoid rich blueberries and other foods such as chocolate, spinach and some other fruit juices can increase the blood flow to the brain and can restructure it so warding off the loss of memory associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  Blueberries can help prevent cardio-vascular disease because they lower bad cholesterol but increase the good variety and they can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, making them good for people suffering from Type-2 diabetes. They can also help to regulate blood pressure and maintain normal blood pressure.
  Just as bilberries do, they can help prevent macular degeneration, an eye disease which affects many people as they grow older, and can help with night vision. In fact bilberries do much the same as blueberries and the reason they have become so popular in Britain is because of the health news which hails them as a superfood. In fact in 2010 they overtook sales of one of Britain’s favourite fruits, the red raspberry, and in the US they are the second most popular berry after the ubiquitous strawberry.
  It should perhaps be pointed out that any food which is hailed as a superfood has to be eaten in a well-balanced healthy, nutritious diet to have real health benefits. Eating a lot of one fruit or vegetable but still eating a lot of unhealthy trans-fats and fast food will not have any lasting health benefits.
  You can use the recipe below for bilberries too and the bilberry recipe for blueberries.

150 gr blueberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
6 digestive biscuits, crumbled
25 gr melted butter
250 gr thick natural yoghurt
2 tbsps honey
1 lemon, zest removed and juiced

Cook the blueberries with the caster sugar and cinnamon for 2-3 minutes. You can add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth.
Combine the crumbled biscuits and melted butter and press this crumble mixture into the bottom of 4 glasses.
Mix the natural yoghurt (Greek yoghurt is good) with the honey and lemon zest and juice. Combine well, blend in a food processor if you have one.
Now put a layer of the yoghurt mixture on top of the biscuits, then a layer of blueberries and repeat until all are used.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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