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Amazing Benefits Of Blueberries (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Blueberries (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

The healthy campaign that has swept across the world in recent years have put more emphasis on the benefits of blueberries and propelled it to the forefront. The rise in its popularity is well deserved given that it contains the highest antioxidant capacity of all fruits, leafy greens, spices, and seasonings.

Origin of Blueberries

Unlike strawberries that originate from France, the blueberry fruit originates from North America. They are used mainly as a source of food and energy. However, Native Americans have utilized blueberries for their medicinal value and have also found that blueberries are a great source of dye for clothes as well.

According to statistics, the US and Canada produce roughly 200 million pounds of blueberries annually, with Maine largely recognized as the blueberry production capital of North America. It has been said that the yearly harvest of blueberries in this region alone is sufficient to cover a four lane highway from New York all the way to Chicago in a single coat.

Given that every July is the peak of the blueberries harvest season, it is only right that the month of July is inducted as the blueberry month. Other interesting facts worth knowing include:

  • Minnesota declares blueberry muffin as its official state muffin
  • New Jersey adopts blueberries as its official state fruit
  • Nova Scotia in Canada claims blueberry as its official state berry

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Origin of Blueberries

    Benefits of Blueberries

    Other than using blueberries for its medicinal value and unique color dyeabilities, this fruit is also packed with a comprehensive list of vitamins and minerals. While it has been proven that blueberries contain the highest total antioxidant capacity, consumers should also be aware of why antioxidants are beneficial towards the body.

    • Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

    Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death among men and women in the United States. The fiber, potassium and other vitamin content in blueberries make it the best candidate for to decrease the risk of these diseases. A study published by Harvard University also found that a healthy consumption of blueberries helps to reduce the risk of a heart attack in women by up to 32%. This is due to the high content value of anthocyanins found in blueberries.

    • Prevent Growth of Cancer Cells

    Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and other phytonutrients found in blueberries are effective in waging a war against the free radicals in the body. These nutrients help to prevent tumor development and growth of cancer cells. In addition, the folate content in blueberries has the ability to repair DNA, which is beneficial towards eliminating cancer cells as well.

    • Fight Urinary Tract Infections

    Bacteria that enter the urinary tract causes an infection that usually do not present any symptoms. The antioxidants in blueberries prevent these bacteria from binding the bladder tissue and repairs the damage done to the urinary tract.

    Studies have shown that blueberries are able to reduce the effects of any cognitive damage that are usually brought on by the natural aging process. Participants relying on blueberries have constantly fared better on memory tests than other participants who are put on placebo treatment.

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    • Anti-Aging Properties

    Perhaps the most enticing benefit of blueberries, the high antioxidant value in blueberries helps to maintain the production level of collagen as it decreases with age. It is also effective in preventing and repairing the damage caused by environmental factors and helps to smooth wrinkles, leading to improved skin texture and structure.

    Recipes

    Now that the benefits of blueberries have been established, the next step is to incorporate it into dietary plans to absorb fully its nutrients and vitamins. It should be noted that blueberries possess a unique characteristic; it does not lose any of its nutritional value after freezing. This means that blueberries can be frozen and stored for future use without losing any of its benefits. This opens the door for blueberries to be used in any recipes at any time of the year. Listed below are 5 common recipes for blueberries.

    Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

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      Thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, sugar and ground flaxseeds together. In another bowl, whisk milk, vanilla and egg together. Combined both the mixture together and add to blueberries. Transfer the final mixture onto the skillet in equal sizes. Cook each side for about 3 minutes over medium fire. To complete the dish, serve with syrup based on individual preferences.

      Blueberry Cheesecake

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        First, ground almonds, sugar and butter together. Bake the mixture in an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes and let it cool. Next, mix cream cheese, sugar, and mascarpone. Then add in vanilla extract and eggs, blend with an electric mixer on low speed. Bake for 90 minutes in the oven heated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and transferred it to the a refrigerator. Allow it to cool for 6 hours or more. Finally, put blueberries in heated water and constantly stir until they soften. Top off the cheesecake with blueberries.

        Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

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          Blend flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, lemon zest, vanilla, butter, and eggs. Combine both mixtures until fully blended. Next, add in blueberries and distribute them evenly. Divide the final batter among muffin cups and bake for 10 minutes. The oven should be heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

          Blueberry Beet Juice with Kale and Lemon

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            Cut beet into quarters and peel the skin of ginger and lemon. Mix all ingredients together with the blueberries and add into the juicer. This easy to make fruit juice is best served after a sumptuous meal.

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            Blueberry Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Walnuts

            Blueberry Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Walnuts

              Spread oats onto a baking sheet and bake until it turns golden brown in an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the toasted oats into a pan of water and milk and allow it to boil. Reduce heat and stir occasionally until the mixture turns soft and creamy. Separate into serving cups and mix with blueberries, honey, walnuts, and cinnamon.

              Conclusion

              Being knowledgeable about the benefits of blueberries is insufficient, it is necessary to possess the required expertise to incorporate it into any dietary plan. Based on the suggested recipes above, anyone can easy cook up a healthy dish centered around blueberries. With options such as smoothies, pancakes or muffins, everyone will definitely be spoilt for choice.

              Featured photo credit: Iryna Melnyk via shutterstock.com

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              Evlin Symon

              Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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              Last Updated on May 22, 2019

              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

              There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

              One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

              In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

              Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

              1. Cat Camel Stretch

              Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

              Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

              Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

              Here’s a video to guide you through:

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              2. Go for a Walk or a Run

              This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

              Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

              The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

              Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

              Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

              3. Jumping Jacks

              Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

              Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

              4. Abductor Side Lifts

              Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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              Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

              5. Balancing Table Pose

              This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

              Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                6. Leg Squats

                Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                7. Push Ups

                You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                8. Bicycle Crunches

                There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                9. Lunges

                Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                10. Bicep Curls

                You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

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