Blueberries: A Nutritious Powerhouse for Summer Meals

Recipe By: Kathleen Walters


Summertime provides the perfect opportunity to freshen up dishes with a powerful and delicious fruit: blueberries.  Native to North America, blueberries are part of the Vaccinium species of fruits that were cultivated beginning in the 20th century by Frederick Coville, a botanist working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since the 1970s, the cultivation of blueberries has increased worldwide by over 600%, which is likely due to their multitude of health benefits.

Blueberries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C as well as an excellent source of manganese and vitamin K. However, the bioactive components of blueberries set this fruit apart as a nutritious powerhouse.  In particular, blueberries contain anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid and phenolic compound that provides the pigment for blueberries, protect the blueberry’s skin from overexposure to ultraviolet light, and may have significant health benefits.  Research has shown that the polyphenols in blueberries may decrease inflammation, blood pressure, disease progression of obesity/adiposity, improve insulin sensitivity, provide positive effects on vision and the gastrointestinal tract, and protect against cancer.

In addition to all of the health benefits of blueberries, they provide a tasty treat that can be added to a wide variety of dishes. Fresh blueberries have shown to retain more anthocyanins than processed blueberries, though frozen blueberries also provide higher anthocyanin levels than canned, dried, and baked forms as well as blueberry sorbet and juice.  Overall, choose fresh if possible, though frozen blueberries are still a great option.

Try these summer-inspired recipes featuring blueberries:

Fill your favorite jar with these overnight oats topped with one-half cup blueberries.



Indulge in these blueberry buckwheat pancakes from The Little Green Spoon.

Beat the summer heat with this simple blueberry smoothie as an afternoon refreshment using unsweetened vanilla almond milk.



Create this tasty blueberry parfait using nonfat Greek yogurt and your favorite granola.

Enjoy this light and refreshing antioxidant-packed salad and add ½-1 cup kidney beans to add some extra fiber and protein.