Blueberries are a small berry that is one of the few fruits native to North America. There are a few different species in the blueberry family and they’re known by many names like cowberry, bilberry and sparkleberry. Blueberries are in the genus Vaccinium and have been used by Native Americans for centuries, who ate them fresh and dried them out in order to preserve them for winter. They also used the juice for cough syrup and to dye cloth.
The blueberries cultivated these days are high bush, a variety of wild berry that was domesticated in the early 20th century. Blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants among all other fruits and vegetables. They also contain high levels of fiber, flavonoids and vitamins, and are very low in calories and fat. Blueberries support a strong immune system, which is very important in children as a healthy immune system helps them ward off colds and other viruses they may come into contact with.
Various research has been performed on the health benefits of blueberries, with satisfying results. One study published by the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences in the UK examined the effects of flavonoid-rich blueberry drink on the memory of children aged eight to ten years old, which indicated there was a positive connection between blueberries and memory recall. And according to another study conducted by Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D, one half-cup of blueberries holds as much antioxidant power as five servings of other fruits and vegetables like peas, carrots, apples, squash and broccoli.
When adding blueberries to your children’s diet, ensure they are fresh, raw blueberries and not dried or processed blueberries as these won’t have all the essential nutrients and antioxidants, and are likely to be full of sugar and preservatives. A half-cup serving of blueberries three or four times per week will benefit your child’s health and wellbeing. Serve them in homemade muffins or pancakes, in smoothies and yogurt, or just by themselves as a snack.