Small but Mighty: The Powerful Blueberry

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Blueberries are part of the genus Vaccinium. The main types of blueberries are highbush, lowbush, rabbiteye and half-high hybrid varieties. The most common blueberry for commercial cultivation is the highbush type. There are many varieties of blueberries each with their own characteristics in terms of size, growing season, flavor and ability to withstand cold.

Globally, blueberries are grown in high volumes in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Morocco, but the United States is the largest producer. In Europe, Poland used to be the leading producer of blueberries but has been overtaken by Spain. Increasing demand for this delicious “snacking food,” as it’s often referred to in Europe, has resulted in new plantations being established in countries such as Ukraine, Lithuania, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, and Georgia.

In both Maine and eastern Canada, First Nation people, notably the Wabanaki tribes, were among the first to discover and use wild blueberries for nutrition and healing purposes. Fast forward to the modern world and the American Heart Association has certified blueberries as a heart-healthy food. Here are some of the reasons why:

•          Blueberries are low in calories but high in nutrients. A single cup (148 grams) serving contains 4 grams of fiber, and RDI (recommended daily intake) of 24% Vitamin C, 36% Vitamin K, 25% Manganese plus smaller amounts of other nutrients. Made up of 85% water, one cup of blueberries only has 84 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates, making it one of the fruits allowed on virtually every type of diet regimen.

•          Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables. Available year round in both Europe and North America, it’s an easy and delicious way to incorporate a healthy fruit into a daily diet.

•          The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to help reduce a primary risk factor for heart disease by preventing oxidative damage to “bad” LDL cholesterol.

•          Several studies suggest that blueberries and blueberry juice may help reduce DNA damage.

•          The blue color in blueberry skins are known as anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidant that have associated traits, including the possibility of promoting maximum brain function and delaying mental decline. Anthocyanins also show evidence of reducing the risk of heart attacks.

•          Several studies have shown that blueberries have anti-diabetic effects by helping to improve insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels.1

•          Research suggests that blueberries may aid muscle recovery after strenuous exercise, so more studies are being conducted to gather additional data.2

Wild blueberries are slightly different from cultivated ones. Wild blueberries are smaller and grow on lower bushes. Many wild blueberries are harvested using hand-held berry rakes, but some are machine harvested. Both wild and cultivated blueberries are usually sorted, cleaned, and processed within hours of being picked. Those not sorted for fresh fruit markets are separated and partially frozen for easier transport and longevity.

Kenzen® Super Ciaga® is an immune-boosting antioxidant superfruit powder made with a combination of berries— Organic Elderberry, Organic Blueberry, Organic Blackberry, Organic Maqui Berry, Organic Raspberry.

 Nikken

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