Healthy ingredients: Beautiful blueberries
Blueberries are considered a superfood and these little blue North-American berries certainly pack a nutritious punch. Packed with vitamin K (for healthy bones, 14mg vitamin C (per cup) to maintain a healthy immune system, manganese and fibre, they're also low in calories and virtually fat free. In fact one cup of blueberries contains just 80 calories and enough fibre to satisfy your daily requirements.
Did you know that topping your morning granola with blueberries could improve heart health? A study carried out in 2012 on 93,000 women revealed that those who consumed three or more portions of blueberries a week had a 32% lower risk of heart attack (1).
Anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants responsible for giving blueberries their distinctive blue colour, could also help in the fight against cancer, attacking cancer-causing free-radicals, according to a study carried out at the University of Illinois (2). The study examined the effects of blueberries on prostate cancer and evidence was found to suggest that blueberries could possibly be used in the prevention of the disease.
Blueberries can even be used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). Ten times more common for women than men, cranberries are usually suggested as the berry of choice to fight UTI symptoms, but blueberries can help too! They contain substances which inhibit the growth of bacteria in bladder tissue.
So now we've given you enough reasons to eat blueberries, how do you go about adding them to your diet? There are plenty of ways to use these bright blue berries, from pancakes to smoothies and more - here's some inspiration for you!
This healthier take on sugar-loaded blueberry muffins adds courgettes, high in vitamin C, for a great way to start your day. Containing two of your five a day, these muffins are a great alternative to supermarket varieties!
If you're a fan of our ultimate granola recipe, then here's another great breakfast dish to try out. This granola is loaded with pecans, blueberries and spices - it calls for dried blueberries, but we like to serve it with some Greek yoghurt and fresh blueberries for a super-healthy morning treat!
Blueberries have their place in savoury as well as sweet dishes, and if you're bored of your regular salsa and pitta chips, whip up this spicy, zesty take with lime and blueberries instead. With onions, avocados and blueberries - you can't get much healthier!
Image credit: Howsweeteats.com
If you're like us and always on the go, you're probably always looking for food that will give you energy quickly whilst being portable and convenient. We think these energy bites with blueberries, sunflower seeds butter, raw cashews and dates are pretty perfect - pop a couple in a little bag or box and take with you to the gym, work or wherever! Did we mention they're vegan as well as dairy, soy and gluten free?
This sounds super-refreshing! Perfect for those hot summer days, this contains three of your five a day and would be great served alongside grilled fish, marinated chicken or even just with some quinoa.
Pomegranates are one of our favourite fruits ever and like blueberries, they're loaded with antioxidants that can fight free radicals and keep your body healthy. So combining blueberries and pomegranates to make a fruity vinaigrette is a pretty great idea, as far as we're concerned! You could mix separate quantities of blueberry and pomegranate juice or look out for a combined juice in larger supermarkets on your weekly shop. This dressing goes with all kinds of salads, so pick up some leave, salad veggies, nuts or seeds and start experimenting!
Frozen yoghurt (fro-yo) is a great, low-fat alternative to ice cream that we love here at Expertrain HQ! Making your own blueberry swirl only requires a few ingedients and turns this from an indulgent treat into something much healthier. Save this recipe for the weekends when you have a bit more time.
Chia seeds are real little nutritional powerhouses, loaded with protein, and when you combine them with almonds and blueberries you get this fantastic treat that's ideal when you're craving something sweet. This vegan recipe calls for oats, nut butter, almonds, blueberries, chia seeds and spices - as well as some healthy brown rice syrup and honey for sweetness. These would make a great snack to pack for the gym or those mornings at work when lunchtime seems really far away!
Of course, blueberries are the ultimate smoothie ingredient and will leave you with a rich purple colour. This recipe uses frozen blueberries which will give you a thicker, creamier smoothie, but you could use fresh and add ice if you have some to hand. With goji berries, chia and flax seeds, cocoa nibs, bananas, orange juice and your choice of regular or non-dairy milk (we like almond milk), this is one of the best smoothie recipes we've found and it's perfect as a post-workout snack or breakfast to fuel your day.
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