Blueberries may be small but they pack a healthy punch. As July is National Blueberry Month, we wanted to highlight a few of their health benefits and share one absolutely yummy blueberry recipe.
Blueberries are rich in phytonutrients—like anthocyanin and other polyphenols that are thought to provide strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Anthocyanin pigments are also what give blueberries and other fruits and veggies their vibrant colors.
The antioxidants in blueberries may help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that form in our body as a result of normal cell function or other more damaging assaults on the body such as smoking, UV radiation, or stress. Uncontrolled free radical formation can cause cell damage that may lead to cancer, heart disease, inflammation and other health problems. The antioxidants in blueberries are thought to be capable of neutralizing these free radicals and preventing their damage.
Among commonly consumed fruits and veggies, blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants and are also a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Plus, one-half cup of blueberries has only 42 calories.
Here’s one way to enjoy blueberries as part of a healthy diet. This wholesome blueberry muffin recipe is made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, walnuts and a hint of orange zest. It’s about half the calories and half the fat of the typical store-bought blueberry muffins.
Blueberry Walnut Oat Muffins
Preparation time: Approximately 60 minutes.
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped-optional
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In one bowl, mix oats and milk and soak for 10 minutes. Then add egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and grated orange rind. Stir until well blended.
In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and walnuts. Mix well and fold into oats mixture until just moistened. Do not over mix. Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Reserve remaining berries.
Grease muffin pan (or use paper liners) and fill muffin cups about two-thirds full. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove muffins from tin and cool on wire rack. Yields 12 muffins.
Louisiana State University