Long before the European settlers discovered it, American Indians prized the blueberry for its taste and health benefits. They would gather this wild berry and utilize it their meals, making stews and a sweet dessert known as Sautauthig with it. They would savor its flavor and benefit from its potent mix of vitamins, antioxidants and soluble fiber. The first European colonists also came to value this extraordinary berry, gathering up as many as they can find growing in the wild and adding them to their dishes. Soon, blueberry muffins and blue berry pancakes showed up along with blueberry tarts, and blueberry pies. They were also added to meat dishes as well as salads, making for one versatile berry indeed,
Both the settlers and the natives use the juice of the berry for a variety of medicinal purpose. They would use it to sooth coughs and help relax the mother during childbirth. Most of all, they would utilize the berries mild astringent properties to help combat diarrhea. Blueberry contains an antibiotic substance called anthocyanin which seems to work especially well against intestinal bacteria. This made the berry extremely valuable to early settler who at times had to get by on less than perfectly preserved food.
In these modern times, scientists have found that blueberries are a super food loaded with many benefits that can bring us health and longevity. In fact, according to the USDA, blueberries have the number one antioxidant rating of all fruits and vegetables that you can find on the market today. Antioxidants are the things that our bodies need in order to help combat the effect of cell damaging free radicals and eating one cupful of these powerful berries is akin to getting the antioxidant power of three whole oranges.
Scientists have also found that blueberries are rich in soluble fiber. For those who do not know, or have not seen the Cheerio’s ad, soluble fiber is what helps you lower your cholesterol. Lower cholesterol means better blood flow. Better blood flow means a healthier heart.
On top of that, fresh blueberries are also packed with the all important Vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is important for vision and is a valuable antioxidant. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant as well as vitally important for a good immune system.
The best way to get your blueberry on is eating them fresh. Canned or frozen blueberries lose a lot of their nutritional value, including all of their Vitamin C. Fresh blueberries are available year round in your grocery store, but buying them local and in season greatly improves their taste and nutritional value.