Blueberry season is about to hit Australia and New Zealand in a big way, so what better time than now to explore the benefits of these little superfoods – specifically, the benefits of our very own homegrown blueberries.
The Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association (ABGA) formed in the 1970s to support blueberry growers and ensure Australian blueberries remain among the world’s finest. The local blueberry industry produces approximately 95% of Australia’s blueberries, 85% of which are sold fresh internally, 5% of which are processed and 10% of which are exported to Europe and Asia.
Blueberries are a true superfood, packed with antioxidants and nutrients and full of flavour. They carry an overwhelming number of health perks, making them one of the best foods for promoting wellbeing and overall health. Here are just some of these blue gem’s health benefits:
- They defend the body from cancer: the high vitamin C and E content and important antioxidants blueberries carry help fight free radicals which are connected to colon and ovarian cancer.
- They protect the heart: blueberries protect the heart from strokes, clots and heart disease by enhancing the elasticity of artery walls, strengthening capillaries and minimising cholesterol. They are one of the strongest foods for heart health.
- They boost vision: blueberries enhance the creation of retinal purple, which is essential for healthy vision. They also possess high levels of anthocyanin, which is associated with boosted night vision and reduced eye strain.
- They promote brain function: by enabling enhanced levels of oxygen to reach the brain, blueberries boost brain power. Their compounds can prevent the onset of various brain diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- They battle post-natal depression: blueberries contain the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, which fight post-birth protein that minimises positive hormones .
- They fight ageing: the antioxidants and nutrients in blueberries carry powerful anti-ageing properties. Minimising the onset of wrinkles, protecting from sun damage and promoting balance, blueberries help the skin to stay firm and healthy.
- They combat diabetes: blueberries contain pterostilebene and myrtillin, which can reduce excess blood sugar. They are also high in phytonutrients and low in sugar.
There’s an art to picking blueberries, too. They must be handpicked with care to avoid bruising and spotted with a keen eye so they aren’t picked too early. Pickers look for a white natural wax coating the berry, known as the blueberry bloom.
Here’s one of our favourite blueberry recipes, the classic Blueberry Tart.