Blueberries rank second to strawberries in popularity of berries regarding U.S fruit consumption. Not only are they popular, but blueberries are continuously ranked in the U.S diet as having the highest antioxidant capacities among other fruits, veggies, seasonings, and spices. Blueberries are native to North America; hence they have been enjoyed by Native Americans for many years. They have been quite popular in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, too.
Recent studies emphasize the fact that we can freeze blueberries without doing any damage to their antioxidant content. These antioxidants include many types of anthocyanins, pigments that give berries their shades of purple, blue, and red. After freezing blueberries at low temperatures for periods between three to six months, researchers have found no lowering of their antioxidant capacity.
As a matter of fact, mounting evidence suggests that freezing fruits can make them even healthier! This applies to organic blueberries specifically, where the anthocyanin content it far more powerful after a stay in the freeze. Note that the already discussed anthocyanins contain various anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties which might revolutionize the medical industry.
What does freezing do?
When you freeze the blueberries for either short or longer period of time, the low temperatures penetrate the fruit and affect the tissue structure, making the antioxidant content much more available. As mentioned in the very beginning, the berries actually have their color because of the anthocyanin content in the tissue. Organic blueberries are better option as they have higher nutritional profile. However, freezing can notably increase the following benefits:
- Improving Heart Health
Eating frozen blueberries on a regular basis is associated with lower risk of heart disease, since the nutrients relax the arteries in the vascular wall, which in turn keeps them from getting damaged. As a result, this improves blood circulation as well, giving you a healthy blood pressure levels in the process.
- Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Forms of Dementia
The antioxidant content in blueberries can improve many memory functions as well as protect the brain from any cell damage. This protection makes the retrieval processes more fluid, which in turn makes recalling much easier. Blueberries also make communication between cell processes easier, improve nerve cell growth, and delay nerve cell aging.
- Improved Nervous System Health
Again, the same antioxidant content protects the nerve cells, and thus protects the brain from damage caused by toxins that it is exposed to on a daily basis. The antioxidants create a safeguard around the nervous system, which in turn keeps it strong and healthy for longer.
- Improved Motor Function
Individuals above the age of 70 years typically suffer from impaired movements. The good news is that one study found that eating frozen blueberries improved their cognitive ability, which shows improved motor ability compared to other subjects in the same age group.
- Improved Digestion
Ultimately, the antioxidants in blueberries protect the digestive tract from damage from outside sources. Most of the people who lack antioxidants in their diets eventually develop cancer due to their poor gastrointestinal health. Those who are at higher risk of developing colon cancer should eat more frozen blueberries.