Benefits of blueberries

Blueberries, along with most purple and blue fruits or vegetables contain anthocyanins (important antioxidants) that help protect our cells from damage. Photo: Getty Images
Blueberries, along with most purple and blue fruits or vegetables contain anthocyanins (important antioxidants) that help protect our cells from damage. Photo: Getty Images

There are many ways to enjoy blueberries, writes Deanna Copland.

If you were sitting in the sunshine wearing either a navy T-shirt or a red one, you can imagine you would feel hottest in the darker colour.

With this reasoning, dark berries have to work harder to protect themselves from the free radicals in sunlight, therefore they produce more antioxidants. The same goes for red grapes v green and why pinot noir offers more health benefits.

Blueberries, along with most purple and blue fruits or vegetables contain anthocyanins (important antioxidants) that help protect our cells from damage and can help to reduce the risk of stroke, cancer and heart disease.

A regular blueberry intake has also been shown to be beneficial for memory and prevent dementia.

Even the smallest gardens can be productive with berry plants and vines; blueberries just need an acidic soil with a PH around 4.5.

Berry plants are quick to bear fruit. As well as culinary uses, the blueberry has many landscape uses, including hedging and use in mixed plantings. If you leave the berries on the plant for seven-10 days after the berry turns blue, flavour will be more intense.

You can make a fruit infusion in a water jug or bottle to flavour your water to help with hydration.

Blueberries (gently squashed) with a slice of lemon or orange is a nice combination. If your fruit is not spray-free or organic, be sure to rinse it first with some water and a dash of apple cider vinegar to remove any spray residue.

Frozen blueberries make a delicious sweet ''treat'' for children (past the choking stage). Serve them straight from the freezer. Be sure children are wearing old clothes as the deep colour can stain.

Acai bowls (said ''ah-sigh-ee'') are another way to enjoy berries and have recently started to feature on brunch menus.

All they are is a really thick purple smoothie poured into a bowl and topped with interesting things, and so thick you eat it with a spoon.

I would recommend making them at home though, as some cafes often add a base such as apple juice, honey and lots of fruit, making them very high in sugar.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Acai and blueberry bowl

Acai is a small reddish-purple berry native to the Amazon jungle. It is often bought in powdered forms from health shops.

Serves 2

Ingredients
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana (peel it and chop into pieces before freezing)
1 Tbsp acai powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut water
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
Coconut flakes, fresh blueberries,
granola, cacao nibs etc. to serve.

Method
Combine all ingredients (except toppings) in a blender and puree until smooth.

Pour the smoothie into bowls and top with coconut, blueberries, granola and cacao nibs.

You can decorate the toppings in rows if you feel like it, making it look a little special.

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