Everyone Needs To Be Eating Blueberries
Blueberries are a powerfood that can greatly improve your health
Before my low-carb weight loss experience, I wasn't much of a fruit eater. Big surprise, I know! Of course, when I did eat fruit, it was usually the kind that was packaged in so much high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars that the all-natural goodness of the fruit itself was quite literally destroyed by the additives, preservatives, and extra "rat poison" (that's my personal way of describing sugar) the manufacturers thought they needed to use.
But that was then and this is now. Since I am no longer that 410-pound slob of a unhealthy man I was nearly three years ago, I have learned to eat better than I ever have in my entire life. That's what livin' la vida low-carb has taught me. Although I'm eating healthier, that doesn't mean I have to sacrifice taste or quality in the foods that I eat now either.
An interesting thing has happened to my personal tastes over the past few years as I have weaned myself off of using sugar and sugar-based products. It seems my tastebuds are so much more enhanced to savor the flavors of the foods I am eating. While I once needed to add tons of sugar to just about everything to make them sweet enough for me to enjoy (or at least that's what I thought I had to do), the fact of the matter is there are many naturally sweet foods that not only taste good, but are also packed with essential nutrients that your body can use.
The best such food that fits that description is blueberries. Nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden calls blueberries one of the healthiest foods you could possibly eat. Man oh man, I had no idea these things could taste so good all by themselves or in a dessert dish. And the best part of all is they are low-glycemic, low-fat, low-calories and, yes, low-carb, so they are perfect for people following virtually ANY weight loss program today.
Check out the cold hard nutritional facts on these incredible blueberries:
BLUEBERRIES / 1 cup
Protein (g) 1
Carbohydrate (g) 21
Dietary fiber (g) 3.9
Total fat (g) 0.6
Saturated fat (g) 0.1
Monounsaturated fat (g) 0.1
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0.2
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Potassium (mg) 129
Sodium (mg) 9
key nutrients (%rda/ai*)
Vitamin C 19 mg (21%)
Vitamin E 2.7 mg (18%)
Why WOULDN'T you want to start eating more blueberries right away?
This small handful of blueberries contains a mere 1-2g net carbs
Another key element found in blueberries is the very large amounts of healthy antioxidants from the anthocyanins in them that have been found to protect against cell damage which can lead to disease and an acceleration of the aging process. Also, flavonoid phytochemicals (which includes anthocyanins) can make blood platelets less likely to stick together and form the type of clots that can cause heart attacks. So eating blueberries is indeed "heart healthy!"
They also contain high amounts of the soluble fiber known as pectin which can lower your cholesterol by preventing LDL "bad" cholesterol from oxidation which then leads to hardening of the arteries. Additionally, the pectin adds bulk to your stools without causing a bowel movement (although if you eat too many blueberries, be prepared for your bowel to shake, rattle, and roll!).
Some more research has also found that blueberries can prevent the spread of infectious bacteria in the urinary tract which can help prevent urinary tract infections. And a Tufts University study showed elderly lab rats experiencing mental illness were able to correct and even reverse that condition just by eating blueberries. Whoa! Blueberry juice is an all-natural remedy for a nasty cough and blueberries can even help prevent macular degeneration. Oh, I see! ;D
With all of these health benefits just from eating blueberries, it only makes sense that people begin eating them on a regular basis, right? Is this the "well duh" of the year or what?
I used to buy frozen blueberries at my favorite grocery store which is a great way to enjoy this delicious fruit when it is out of season. But right now is the BEST time all year long to get your blueberries fresh. When I got off of work last night, I went to the YMCA for my workout and then headed straight for the Fresh Market to pick up several pounds of these delightful little morsels of low-carb excellence! I couldn't wait to eat them right out of the container they were so plump, juicy, and sweet!
In fact, right before I started writing this blog post, I popped some in my mouth:
Mmm, maybe I put a few too many in there at one time. Wanna see?
Hee hee! It's hard NOT to have just a little bit of fun when you're talking about blueberries. I believe from the bottom of my heart without a shadow of a doubt in my mind at all that everyone needs to be eating blueberries. EVERYBODY!!!
Let the excuses start to flow:
"But, but, but, blueberries are so expensive, Jimmy. A little pint-sized container at the grocery store is three bucks! How can you expect me to afford that? It's just not worth it to me!"
Here we go again. Sigh. But there are people out there who say things like that to me all the time as they spout off their "I don't care" attitude at me. Is it any wonder why obesity rages on and will continue to do so for many years to come?
The answer to the question about affordability is simple: If you truly care enough about eating better and healthier than you are right now, then you will do what you have to do to get the blueberries in your refrigerator so they can be available to you when you need to eat them instead of that honeybun, brownie, or chocolate cake. Would anyone disagree with this?
Also, one of the amazing thinga about rationalizing NOT eating how you are supposed to because of alleged financial constraints is that many of those same people will go out to McDonald's for a #2 Super-Sized Extra Value Meal that costs over FIVE BUCKS, but they can't shell out that same amount of money for a couple of pints of blueberries? Riiiiigggght, it's the money. Don't even try to pull that crap with me because I wrote the book on it a long time ago. THAT'S WHY I STAYED SO FAT FOR SO LONG! You're not gonna be able to wiggle your way out of this one!
The month of July is actually National Blueberry Month (you can even send a friend or family member a FREE personalized e-card from Egreetings.com about it!) and has been since the USDA proclaimed it as such in 1999. So it's time to celebrate by getting up from your computer right now (DO IT!), grabbing your keys, going to your car, driving down to the nearest store that sells fresh blueberries, and stocking up! You'll be so glad you did as you begin this new commitment to start eating better than you ever have before.
You and your family will enjoy how blueberries will change the way you thought eating healthy could be. Don't delay on making this a priority in your life because this one little change could make a world of difference. Especially if you are livin' la vida low-carb, eating fruit (yes, you DO get to eat fruit!) like blueberries is A VIRTUAL MUST. So what are you waiting for? GO GET YOU SOME! Go on, I'll be here blogging, munching on blueberries when you get back...
7-16-06 UPDATE: Well, believe it or not, not all low-carbers actually agree with my recommendation to eat more blueberries. Fellow low-carb blogger Rob at his new Zero Carb Daily blog says that all "fruit should be one of the last things you should eat on low-carb."
"Fruit is the worst and most fattening of carbs to eat. I would not advise anyone with serious weight to lose to eat fruit of any kind."
While I do not subscribe to the "you-must-eat-all-fruit" theory of weight loss and healthy nutrition since many of them do contain way too much sugar for your body when you are livin' la vida low-carb, I certainly think it is shortsighted to say consuming blueberries is "fattening" for a low-carber. As long as you aren't eating a pound of them in one sitting, they are low-glycemic and loaded with the nutrients I talked about in my post.
Since Rob is following a near zero carb version of livin' la vida low-carb, I can understand why HE wouldn't want to eat fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries. But for the rest of us who are eating between 20-60g of carbs as part of a low-carb weight loss or weight maintenance plan, these wonder fruits are the perfect snack to rejuvenate your body and help you in your path towards becoming as healthy as you can. Sorry, Rob, I couldn't disagree with you more on this.