Summertime offers so many wonderful pleasures and for many people, myself included, blueberries are among those at the top of the list. I could eat them three times a day - prepared differently or just naked. Even plain, these spectacular little colourful berries are definitely a tasty treat. And, as an added bonus, they have so much scientific research backing their powerful disease-fighting effects. Researchers are investigating a multitude of benefits including their potential defence against certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, urinary tract infections and weight gain. You have to wonder if there's anything that these berries don't protect against.
For a mere 80 calories per cup, blueberries offer almost four grams of fibre along with a range of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and potassium. But it's their pigments, called anthocyanins, that are at the centre of much investigation.
Unlike some research on various compounds which requires ridiculously large amounts of a food to be consumed in order to achieve any disease-fighting effects, investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center point to consuming just one cup a day to prevent cell damage - the type that can lead to cancer. They suggest the abundant antioxidants in blueberries offer protection against free radical damage to cells which can be the first step in cancer development.