Facts About Blueberries
Blueberry is a flowering plant that belongs to the Ericacae family. This plant originally came from North America, but can now be found on almost every continent. The blueberry prefers the colder climate and grows on sandy and acidic soils. Wild blueberry species tolerate drought. Certain types of blueberries produce more fruit after forest fires. According to some studies, blueberries have been part of the human diet for at least 13,000 years and are considered to be one of the healthiest types of fruits that can prevent the development of numerous diseases. In addition to having beneficial health effects, people grow blueberries because of their ornamental morphology.
One large handful (1/2 a cup) of juicy blueberries contains just 44 calories but has 2 grams of dietary fibre and 10% of your daily recommended vitamin C content.
Blueberries grow in the form of bush. Depending on the size, they can be divided in two groups: highbush and lowbush blueberries. Lowbush blueberries, also known as wild blueberries, are usually 3.9 inches tall. Highbush blueberries can reach 13 feet in height.
Blueberries ranked number one in antioxidant health benefits in a comparison with more than 40 fresh fruits and vegetables.
Depending on the variety, blueberries have either deciduous or evergreen leaves. They are oval or lanceolate in shape. Deciduous plants change color of the leaves seasonally. Light green foliage is characteristic for the spring, red for the fall.
The blueberry is one of the only foods that is truly naturally blue in colour. The pigment that gives blueberries their distinctive colour—called anthocyanin—is the same compound that provides the blueberry’s amazing health benefits.
Blueberry has bell-shaped flower. It can be white, pink or red in color. Flower contains both male (stamens) and female (pistil) reproductive organs.
People have been eating blueberries for more than 13,000 years.
Honeybees and bumblebees are main pollinators of blueberries.
The blueberry (genus Vaccinum) is one of the only commercially-available fruits that is native to North America.
Fruit of blueberry belongs to the group of berries. It changes the color from greenish to reddish to dark purple when it ripens. Blueberry is rare example of food that is naturally blue in color.
Blueberries were called “star fruits” by North American indigenous peoples because of the five-pointed star shape that is formed at the blossom end of the berry.
Blueberry is rich source dietary fibers and vitamins C, K, A, E and vitamins of the B group. It also contains valuable minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.
A single blueberry bush can produce as many as 6,000 blueberries per year.
Blueberries are usually sold fresh, frozen or dried. They can be consumed raw or in the form of sweet desserts such as blueberry pie.
British Columbia is the largest highbush blueberry growing region in the world. As a country, Canada ranks third behind the US and Chile. Blueberries are Canada’s most exported fruit.
Blueberries are used for the production of juices, jellies, jams and breakfast cereals.
The silvery sheen (or “bloom”) found on the skin of blueberries is a naturally occurring compound that helps protect the fruit. This why you should only wash blueberries right before you’re going to eat them. The berries should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep fresh for up to 10 days.
Blueberries are used in the manufacture of delicious and healthy blueberry wine.
Consumption of blueberries has been linked to health benefits including a reduced risk of cancer, increased insulin response, a reversal in age-related memory loss, and lowering blood pressure.
Blueberries produced from the highbush varieties are mostly used fresh. Blueberries produced from the lowbush varieties are often used in food processing.
Blueberries can help heart health, bone strength, skin health, blood pressure, diabetes management, cancer prevention, and mental health.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that prevent inflammation. Some studies indicate that blueberries may prevent development of certain types of cancer.
One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of a person recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Studies on rats showed that blueberries control blood pressure and reduce brain damage after experimentally induced stroke.
According to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia, in the United Kingdom (U.K.) regular consumption of anthocyanins can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women.
Blueberries improve memory and motor skills. They are known as anti-aging fruit because they delay senescence of cells.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and the various phytonutrients in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants that may help protect cells against damage from disease-linked free radicals.
USA is the greatest manufacturer of blueberries in the world. More than 500 million pounds of blueberries are produced in the USA each year.
Blueberries also contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This can prevent the formation of cancer cells due to mutations in the DNA.
Lifespan of blueberry depends on the variety and environmental conditions. Under ideal conditions, blueberry can survive up to 60 years.
Studies have also found that in addition to reducing the risk of cognitive damage, blueberries can also improve a person’s short-term memory and motor coordination.