As I endeavor in print to pay homage to this most scrumptiously plump delicious superfruit, my hand moves repeatedly from a small basket on the table into my mouth—popping in small, tart-sweet berries several at a time. It’s important to understand your subject, you know. I have always loved blueberries. I remember being five or six and proudly discovering, upon biting one in half and examining a cross-section, that the inner-fruit was actually milky-green. All grown up now, each spring I anxiously troll the grocery store isles waiting to pounce once the price of a basket comes down to less than five bucks. And in June my stomach grins when these and other treasures (peaches!
strawberries!) grace local stands at the farmer’s market.
Nature’s splendor is truly at its pinnacle when a gift of healthful benefits comes wrapped in such a yummy package. We hear that blueberries are rich in antioxidants, but I’d just like to get the word out that the buck doesn’t stop there. Our friend the blueberry, several species of which are native to North America, is cousin to the cranberry, the grape and the bilberry. The blue-red pigment of her skin is home to a host of bioflavonoids, including quercetin, lutein, vitamin C, and an extra-special group called anthocynosides. These bioflavanoids prevent free radical cell damage that leads to glaucoma, cataracts, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, heart disease and cancer. They are responsible for increasing blood flow to capillaries and vessels all around the body, but especially to the eyes. Bilberry extract can be found in the vision section of any health food store, but why take a pill when the same benefit can be gained by feeding on these little bursts of bliss? By the way, munching on blueberries also enhances circulation, reduces blood sugar levels, tones the heart and improves memory. Not bad for a little berry, huh?