Blueberry is a shrub belonging to the Heath (Ericaceae) family, whose other members are bilberry, cranberry, azalea, mountain laurel, and rhododendron. There are three varieties of blueberries: highbush (most commonly cultivated), lowbush (also referred to as “wild”) and rabbiteye.
Health Benefits of Blueberries:
Blueberries’ antioxidant capacity has been attributed to the high concentration of phenolic compounds, particularly anthocyanins, they contain. Anthocyanins (ACN) are the blue, red, blue-red, or purple water-soluble pigment in berries, fruits, vegetables and leafs. Generally, the small-berried genotypes of blueberry have much higher levels of anthocyanins than the large-berried genotypes.
The total antioxidant capacity of blueberries is about 3-fold higher than of strawberries or raspberries. In a study on cellular antioxidant activity of 25 common fruits wild blueberry was the champion in demonstrating antioxidant activity. The lowbush blueberry has a higher in vitro antioxidant capacity than the cultivated highbush blueberry.
Although freezing does not significantly influence total anthocyanin content in blueberries, dry berries do have a lower ACN level than fresh ones.
Blueberries have also traditionally been used to stabilize digestion, and recent research suggests that they may help improve neurological functions, prevent cardiovascular diseases, halt the spread of cancer, combat inflammation, and promote post-exercise recovery! (For more information about blueberries and other health-promoting berries, check out 6 Power-Packed Berries You Should Be Eating).
This blueberry salsa is perfect when served with vegan burgers or grilled tofu!
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 small red onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 fresh red chili
- 3-4 garlic gloves, diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp tamari
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Chop the onion, bell pepper and chili.
- Briefly pulse half of the blueberries in a food processor or chop it coarsely.
- Combine all the ingredients and toss well.
- Let the flavors blend for at least one hour prior to serving.
Keep refrigerated in a covered glass jar for 5 days.