Blueberry, super antioxidant and protector against infections

The blueberry is an exquisite berry although unusual in our cuisine, but it is perhaps the most antioxidant food, it protects against infections and improves circulation.

The blueberry is considered a typical berry of North America and the Nordic European countries. However, children in the north of the Iberian Peninsula have their first contact with this fruit, with a surprising dark blue color and delicious sweet flavor with a touch of acidity, on their summer walks in the mountains.

The European blueberry or bilberry is small and dark, and its pulp is bluish, while the one that comes from the United States is greenish and shiny.

There are also red varieties. The cranberry that is usually sold dried or in extract for medicinal purposes comes from the United States, where it is known as cranberry. These blueberries, being very acidic, are hardly consumed fresh.

Blueberry, the color of health

The blueberry is a false berry with a crown on the end. Between July and September it is ready to be picked.
The most prominent components of blueberries are the anthocyanins that give them color. They are found in greater proportion in wild blueberries with dark pulp and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

If consumed in sufficient quantities, they reduce the risk of suffering from a variety of diseases by counteracting the effect of free radicals. The properties of blueberry seem to benefit the brain above all. Several studies indicate that its regular consumption slows down the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases.

Stop infections

A traditional indication of cranberry that scientific studies have confirmed is the prevention and treatment of urinary infections. The Native Americans already used them for this purpose. Apparently they act through a double effect.

On the one hand, the abundance of organic acids increases the acidity of urine and prevents the proliferation of bacteria. On the other hand, the Flavonoids They reduce inflammation of the venous walls and prevent microorganisms from adhering and multiplying. They also act against digestive infections.

Good for circulation

Other studies indicate its effectiveness in lowering hypertension, reduce triglycerides, increase "good" cholesterol and prevent the oxidation of "bad" cholesterol. These effects help prevent circulatory diseases (varicose veins, blood clots...) and heart diseases.

Laboratory research indicates that cranberries can prevent and improve macular degeneration and other eye problems.

In popular medicine, the leaves are used as an infusion for various digestive disorders, infections and skin conditions. They have also been used in diabetes, arthritis and uric acid. However, the rich tannins in the leaves can make it difficult to absorb nutrients, especially iron.

If instead of using the fruit or leaves you opt for extracts in capsule or pill form, they should contain at least 25% anthocyanins (in treatments you take about 350 mg daily, divided into three doses).
The properties of blueberry and red cranberry are the same. Red wins in antioxidant power, but it does not have a specific component, but rather different proportions of anthocyanins.

summer exquisiteness

In the market it is possible to find fresh blueberries from June to December and they are usually presented in little trays. In addition to fresh, they are frozen, dried, packaged, pressed, in juice or gelatin.
Blueberries are usually eaten for dessert, either as a table fruit or accompanied by yogurt or fresh cheese. Another typical use is as an ingredient in jellies and jams, due to its great gelling capacity. They can also be included in salads, carrot or pumpkin creams or pasta dishes.

M. Núñez and C. Navarro (health)
Montse Tàpia (kitchen)