Blueberries are packed with nutrients.

Summer is officially upon us, and that means it’s time to stock up on fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables. Blueberries are a summer favorite and packed with a ton of nutrients for their small size. In fact, they are often referred to as a “superfood” due to their unique health benefits.

For starters, blueberries are naturally low in calories (just 80 calories per cup) and high in fiber, which make them an outstanding food for your waistline as well as your heart.  In addition, they are an excellent source of bone-healthy vitamin K and manganese.

One unique feature of blueberries is that they contain a distinct mix of phytonutrients, including antioxidants like vitamin C, anthocyanins (which give blueberries their rich blue pigment), and flavonoids. Antioxidants work to help your body’s defense system by combating oxidative stress and free radical damage, factors that may contribute to aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and cancer. In addition to its antioxidant effects, vitamin C can help to build collagen and repair tissues in the body, and is a key player in maintaining a healthy immune system.

So this summer, remember that one of the best ways to maintain optimal health and prevent disease is to fill at least half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, eating according to the rainbow. Blueberries can add the perfect blue hue!

Try this delicious recipe from BWH’s Health-e-Weight for Women for a simple and healthy smoothie that takes advantage of this summer’s blueberry crop.

Learn more about the health benefits of berries and phytonutrients:

– Julie Redfern, RD, LDN, Manager of the Nutrition Consult Services

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