Include This ‘Superstar’ Fruit To Build Your Bones
In the summertime, there’s nothing I love more than a refreshing fresh fruit salad, heaped with all my favorites and topped with a dollop of plain yogurt. Absolute heaven! And adding blueberries – one of the most popular fruits in North America – is more than just a deliciously sweet indulgence, because they can also help you increase your bone density.
Build Your Bones with Blueberries
If you are following the Save Our Bones Program, you know that polyphenols – an important class of antioxidants found in many fruits – have been shown to help increase bone density. So chances are you won’t be surprised about a recent study results linking blueberries to an increase in bone strength and density.1
Published in the prestigious Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the researchers postulate that the polyphenol content in blueberries is most likely responsible for the increased bone strength shown in laboratory study rats.
This study further confirms what the Save Our Bones Program has been saying all along: that the answer to osteoporosis is in nature, not in synthetic chemicals.
The mere fact that researchers are seeking answers from natural foods is a move in the right direction and an encouraging sign. After all, they could have spent their time and resources searching for yet another ‘miracle pill’ or injection to ‘cure’ osteoporosis.
Instead, they’ve chosen to take their blinders off and look for bone health answers in natural foods. Mainstream science seems to be moving in the right direction.
But Blueberries are Acidifying!
Yes, they are. But here’s one of the best features of the Save Our Bones Program: it lets you enjoy all your favorite foods in the right balance; you don’t have to completely eliminate acidifying foods.
You see, a plethora of acidifying foods are loaded with nutrients that are important for bone health, and blueberries are the perfect example. So if you mix them with your favorite alkalizing fruits, you’ll end up with a healthy and delicious 80/20 meal or snack.
If you haven’t yet, you can read about other bone healthy acidifying foods and how they fit into The Save Our Bones Program in these recent blog posts:
And of course, if you are allergic to blueberries or even if you just don’t like them, you don’t have to include them in your diet. This is true for any individual food I write about. No one food is responsible for bone health, and there’s such a wide variety of bone healthy foods that you don’t have to worry about eating anything you don’t like or have issues with.
More Bone Healthy Nutrients in Blueberries
Blueberries make it onto the Foundation Foods list for their Vitamin C content, a crucial antioxidant for collagen production and several other vital cellular tasks. They’re also a good source of manganese, a Foundation Supplement. Manganese is a trace mineral necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone. It’s involved in protein synthesis and fatty acid metabolism, blood clotting, and in many enzyme systems. It also plays a significant role in the formation of thyroxine, the main hormone of the thyroid gland.
And Blueberries Do So Much More!
Health is a continuum, and we shouldn’t look at bone health in a vacuum. That’s why I make a point to also guide you on the nutritional benefits provided by foods and supplements beyond their bone health benefits.
In that regard, blueberries are nutritional superstars. Not only do they have a healthy helping of beneficial fiber, current research is looking into blueberries’ effect on memory and age-related cognitive issues.
And thanks to their relatively low glycemic index numbers, blueberries have a normalizing impact on blood sugar, which can be quite significant for those with diabetes. Plus the antioxidants in blueberries have also been found to provide protection for the digestive tract.
Blueberry Tips and Facts
- If possible, use organic blueberries. In addition to reducing the amount of pesticides you ingest, organically grown blueberries have significantly higher levels of total antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries.
- Most fresh blueberries are sold in ready-packed boxes. To make sure you’re getting the freshest berries, look for a uniform blue color. Shake the container gently to see if the berries move freely in the box. If they don’t, that could mean that the berries are moldy or otherwise damaged. If they’re in a clear container, be sure to turn the container over and inspect the berries on the bottom – often, the moldier berries end up there.
- For a refreshing fruit salad, toss blueberries with cubed cantaloupe, bananas, and peaches. Of course, that’s just one idea – I invite you to experiment with fruit combinations to come up with your absolute favorites.
- As is the case with most fruits, raw blueberries are best. When they are cooked, many of the nutrients are greatly reduced.
- Frozen blueberries are fine! It’s good to know that freezing doesn’t diminish the level of antioxidants in blueberries. Studies have shown that blueberries could be frozen at 0 degrees F (-17 degrees C) for three to six months without any significant reduction in antioxidant power.
And here’s one of my favorite smoothie recipes with blueberries:
Berry Burst Smoothie
½ cup of frozen blueberries (you can freeze them yourself or purchase them frozen)
½ cup strawberries
¼ cup almond milk (substitute soy, rice, or coconut milk if you prefer)
½ cup fresh raspberries (you can substitute with frozen raspberries)
1. Thoroughly wash all fruits
2. Chop strawberries in chunks
3. Put all ingredients in a blender, adding liquid last
4. Puree until smooth.
5. Serve immediately.
Enjoy, and feel free to get creative!