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Though small in size, blueberries pack a big nutritious punch. They contain the highest level of antioxidants of all the berries, and both fresh and frozen blueberries deliver a host of benefits, such as bettering brain function, promoting eye health, improving digestion and boosting immunity. Here are five ways to enjoy this wholesome summertime staple.
1. As a fatigue-fighting smoothie
According to research, the antioxidants in blueberries might help ward off fatigue and reduce swelling by clearing out the free radicals produced by your muscles during exercise.
Blend together ½ cup of frozen blueberries, ½ cup of frozen strawberries or blackberries, ½ a frozen banana, 1 scoop of plain protein powder, 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1 cup of baby spinach. Consume within one hour of training for best results.
2. As a breast-healthy breakfast
Blueberry extract was shown to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in clinical studies, and other research found it reduced tumor volume by 40 percent.
High-Pro Overnight Blueberry Oats: In a mason jar, add ½ cup of rolled oats, ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of unsweetened protein powder, ¾ tablespoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir well, then add ¼ cup of blueberries. Stir gently, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. As a belly-tightening bread
In clinical studies, blueberry juice prevented obesity and helped reduce belly fat in mice fed a high-fat diet.
Oatmeal Blueberry Bread: In a bowl, combine 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of oats, ½ cup of sugar, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, ¼ teaspoon of allspice and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Mix well. Add ¾ cup of milk of choice, ½ cup of coconut oil (melted) and two large eggs. Mix again, then fold in 1½ cups of blueberries. Pour into a bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes.
4. As an anti-aging salad
One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C, a vitamin vital to collagen synthesis. Collagen helps keep skin firm and youthful while helping grow hair and nails and making joints strong.
Create a salad that includes blueberries and other collagen-producing foods such as spinach, salmon, eggs, avocado, chia seeds and tomatoes.
5. As a heart-saving treat
Eating blueberries daily for eight weeks was shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease LDL cholesterol, and another study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia found that regular consumption of anthocyanins — the flavonoid that gives blueberries their color — can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.
Dip blueberries in vanilla Greek yogurt and freeze on a piece of wax paper. Eat chilled for a healthy, low-cal snack.