Blueberries: Power fruit

July is National Blueberry Month. Did you know that Michigan ranks top in the nation in the production of blueberries? Every year Michigan blueberry producers grow almost 100 million pounds of blueberries.

One of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries tastes great and are packed full of nutrients. If you ranked all fruits from the healthiest fruit to the fruit with the lowest nutritional value, blueberries would be at the top of the list.

The beautiful blue color of the blueberry is actually a plant chemical called anthocyanin. Michigan State University Extension says that this anti-oxidant helps lower your risk for food-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Blueberries are a great source of vitamins C, K and fiber. One cup of blueberries has only about 84 calories and a healthy 3.5 grams of fiber.

According to MyPlate, one-quarter of your meal plate should be covered with fruit, so here are some suggestions for adding blueberries to your meals:

Breakfast:

  • Blueberry smoothies
  • Blueberries in pancake or waffle batter
  • Top hot or cold cereal or yogurt with berries
  • Mix blueberries with other summer fruits such as melon or peaches

Lunch/dinner:

  • Blueberries added to salads
  • Blueberries can be cooked into a sauce and served over meats such as poultry or pork
  • Add to mixed fruit cups
  • Serve blueberry crisp or a fresh blueberry pie as dessert or as a topping for ice cream

For information on storing and preserving blueberries check out the Michigan Fresh blueberry fact sheet.

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