Ah, sweet summertime. For someone who is counting calories or watching their weight, this is a great time of year as seasonal produce is abundant. One fruit not to be overlooked is the blueberry. Low in calories, super sweet, versatile, and a great summer value, blueberries are a phenomenal, healthy choice.

Calorie Count

So just how many calories are in blueberries? According to Blueberry Council, blueberries are a skinny 80 calories per one cup serving and contain absolutely no fat. As well as being a winner in the calorie department, that same cup packs a respectable five grams (or twenty percent of the recommended daily value) of hunger-staving fiber.

Other Health Benefits

For such a small berry, the blueberry really packs a health punch. Not only does each low-cal, no fat serving give you a good dose of fiber, it’s a good source of vitamin C (to support and boost the immune system) and manganese (important in bone development). Best of all, blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. Antioxidants prove to be very important to the body, and those contained in blueberries can neutralize free radicals in the body and even protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also shown that blueberries can help stave off ovarian and colon cancers. In fact, in a recent comparison of over sixty fruits and vegetables, blueberries came out on top in terms of nutritional excellence.

Choosing Blueberries

When looking for these blue gems at the grocery store or farmer’s market, pay attention to the color. While ranging in size from a pea to a marble, the deeper the color indicates a more mature fruit. It is fine, however, to use unripe reddish-hued berries in cooking. Of course, avoid berries that are wrinkled and dotted with mold.

Ideas on How to Use Blueberries

Blueberries are easy to incorporate into a daily diet. High in nutrition and low in calories, they are a great food to use in meals, snacks and desserts from morning to night. In their simplest, natural form, blueberries are delicious eaten straight from the container. Try adding a handful to your morning oatmeal for a breakfast that’s not only bursting with flavor, but chock-full of fiber. Craft a fruit salad, or even sprinkle some blueberries over a lunch or dinner salad with fresh greens and grilled chicken. Add some to yogurt for an extra punch of nutrition and flavor. Blueberry muffins are also a perennial favorite. The website www.allrecipes.com has over 400 tested and rated recipes containing blueberries and can be a great creative starting point.

No matter how you use them, blueberries are a great addition to a daily diet. Low in calories, high in flavor and bursting with nutrition, give them a try today.

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