Oh boy, am I ready for spring. The endless stream of root veggies, apples and pears, while lovely, are beginning to grow tired. I am ready for fresh green things. That being said, we still have to find a way to eat well until the weather warms and if we can do it in a sustainable way, all the better.
So this week, it is time for a major antioxidant boost in the form of blueberries. Yes, there are "fresh" blueberries showing up from the southern hemisphere these days but I would urge you to go for frozen blueberries instead. I often get asked if frozen is as healthy as fresh and in situations like these, the answer is a resounding, "Yes!".
Picking fruits and vegetables at the peak of their ripeness also provides nutrients at their peak. When produce is grown far away, it must be picked earlier so that it can withstand the long journey, potentially stunting its nutrient content. In addition, many nutrients, such as vitamin C are incredibly delicate and start to degrade quickly after the produce is picked. So in the winter, when local options don't exist frozen produce can be a very nutritious option.
So starting this week, pick up a big bag of frozen blueberries (bonus points if they are locally grown!) and eat at least a 1/2 cup a day. Look for a product that is unsweetened and give the bag a squeeze: the blueberries should still be individually frozen, not frozen together in clumps which indicates that they have thawed and refrozen at least once. Frozen blueberries are perfect added directly to smoothies and baking. If you want to eat them as a snack, simply keep a small amount in the fridge thawed so they are ready to top cereal, yogurt or even throw them in a salad.
Blueberries are a true superfood. Low in calories but packed with vital nutrition, blueberries are a fruit that will not raise blood sugars substantially making them a good choice for managing weight. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which help to protect the heart and entire circulatory system. The antioxidants in blueberries, including vitamin C, also contribute to healthy skin while decreasing inflammation, another indirect cause of skin concerns and premature aging. Some research has even pointed to the power of daily blueberries to protect your brain against cognitive decline. Wait...what was that last sentence? Can't remember? You need to eat more blueberries!