They might be blue, but there appears to be nothing sad about the heart-healthy benefits of blueberries. When British researchers provided 138 overweight and obese people, ages 50–75, with 150 grams (about 1 cup) of blueberries daily or a placebo for 6 months, they found participants eating the berries experienced various improvements in cardiovascular health, including a reduction in arterial stiffness and improved endothelial functioning.
The study authors suggested that the payload of antioxidants in the fruit might make them especially kind to our tickers. It’s worth noting, however, that the study found no benefit for this at-risk group from eating a smaller amount of blueberries daily (75 g, or a half-cup). Consistently higher intakes may be necessary to reap health benefits.
When locally grown fresh berries are out of season, try using their frozen counterparts in recipes. These berries are flash-frozen soon after harvesting to concentrate their flavor and to lock in more nutrients and antioxidants.
Makes 1 serving.
1/4 C milk or plain nondairy milk
1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
2/3 C frozen (thawed) blueberries, plus more for topping
1 T maple syrup or honey
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t almond extract (optional)
2 T chia seeds
1/3 C low-sugar granola
2 T chopped walnuts
1 T coconut flakes
Place milk, yogurt, blueberries, maple syrup or honey, cinnamon, almond extract, and a pinch of salt in a blender; blend until smooth. Place mixture in a wide-mouth jar, add chia seeds and stir to combine. Top with granola, walnuts, coconut flakes and fresh blueberries. Seal shut again and chill overnight to thicken.