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Blueberry Brain Boosters

By JulieVR |

Photo: Kathy Patalsky

In the middle of winter, we plow through bags of frozen blueberries from the summer before, adding them to everything from muffins to smoothies. Of course it’s always best to get your nutrients directly from food sources, rather than supplements, whenever possible, and fresh and frozen berries are among the highest in antioxidants. A growing body of research is focused on the potential of these teeny powerhouses to benefit brain health – wild blueberries are packed with natural pigments called anthocyanins, which give the berries their deep-blue color as well as their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power.

What’s the difference between wild and cultivated blueberries? Comparatively, wild berries come from hundreds of different low-bush varieties that occur naturally in the coastal fields and barrens of Maine and Canada. According to researcher Dr. Mary Ann Lila, director of the Plants for Human Health Institute at the University of North Carolina, these wild berries have thrived for more than 10,000 years precisely because of their higher concentration of anthocyanin. The harsher the environment, the more potent the protection, for both the wild berries and the berry eaters.

Whether or not they give your brain a boost, blueberries deliver plenty of essential nutrients with very few calories – here are a few new ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

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Healthy blueberry recipes

Fresh Blueberry Morning Bread

What better way to start your day than with a berry-studded loaf?
The Family Kitchen has the recipe!

For more recipes, check out Julie’s award-winning blog, Dinner with Julie!
Follow Julie on Twitter, or check out her Facebook page!

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About JulieVR

julievr

JulieVR

Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of five best-selling cookbooks, food editor of Parents Canada magazine, a CBC Radio columnist and a freelance writer. Her award-winning blog, Dinner with Julie documents life in her home kitchen in Canada with her husband and 7-year-old son. Read bio and latest posts → Read Julie's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Blueberry Brain Boosters

  1. Kanchan says:

    I have picky eaters. I also have a hasbund who is picky eater. I know that this is no coincidence. He tries very hard to not express his pickiness to the kids, but they know. It is a struggle in our house. When Macartney was a toddler, she was incredibly picky. I went to a picky eating seminar put on by our health region that helped a lot. Here’s a couple of things I learned that helped:-Don’t put emotion behind food, whether that be a positive or negative emotion. For example, don’t scold kids for not eating something. At the same time, don’t praise them for eating well either. Food should be food, not something emotional. By making it an emotional issue, we teach our kids to eat emotionally.-Think about nutrition on a weekly scale, not a daily one. Kids might not eat any vegetables one day, but may make up for it the next. So instead of thinking that they need a certain number of servings of this and that, think of what they are getting all week long.-Don’t force it. They suggested at this seminar not to even push the one bite rule. I have at times, but I try not to. We do all right. We are not the healthiest eaters, but in general, I’d say we have a healthy diet. The problem is that we as parents like junk! I’m doing better and we are slowly improving. I have found that focussing on the things my kids do like really helps. Macartney isn’t as picky as she used to be and we focus on all the healthy things she does like, like spinach and salmon. I try to include at least one thing I KNOW the kids will eat each meal. So if that’s all they eat, I try not to worry about it. This week, dinner was very unpleasant one night when no one would eat. So we talked about what healthy foods they would like to eat. And I made those meals. Guess what? Success! Healthy, delicious food chosen by my picky eaters!

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