Mid-June until the end of August is peak blueberry season in North America. Blueberries are often called a “super food.” These tiny, flavorful berries do pack a lot of nutrition into a small bite. On your cancer journey, blueberries* can give you an extra edge in your fight, especially if you have a small appetite, issues with strong smells or tastes, or need a large dose of nutrition and fiber in a little package. Blueberries definitely pack a punch! Keep reading to find out what all blueberries can provide.
Blueberries are among the most nutrient dense fruits. Check out the nutrition facts for just one cup of blueberries!
Searching for a good source of phytonutrients (or plant nutrition)? Look no further. The American Institute of Cancer Research states that blueberries are among the fruits highest in antioxidant power, related to this berry’s many phytochemicals. Phytochemicals or phytonutrients like anthocyanins help decrease inflammation and tumor growth, fight oxidation (a process that hurts healthy cells), and likely reduce the risk for other conditions like diabetes and heart disease according to current research. Our ancestors even used blueberries to make natural, home remedies. Anthocyanins is even what gives blueberries their classic color. In the past, people used blueberries to color fabric and paint.
You can also lower your risk of cancer by including blueberries in your regular diet. Though the exact component of blueberries that helps with cancer prevention is not fully identified (fiber, anthocyanins, or Vitamin K), making fruits, including blueberries, along with a variety of other fruits is key.
Blueberries are quick and easy to use. No special handling is required just wash the portion you are going to use under running water and enjoy! You can also sprinkle them over a salad, freeze them for a smoothie, or fold them in a muffin or dessert recipe. Blueberries also are easy to freeze or can blueberries to use later or make jams and jellies. You can spoon blueberry jam or syrup over ice cream, yogurt, pudding, cakes, or cookies for a tart boost of flavor.
You can also use blueberries to help manage side effects from cancer and cancer treatment. If you are struggling with changes to taste and smell or low appetite, try blueberries as a snack! Blueberries do not have a strong smell, and the texture of blueberries is well-accepted by most people. When’s the best time to eat this nutrient-dense fruit? Plan a blueberry dish when your appetite is the best if it’s been a while since you’ve had them so you can get reacquainted with the taste. Pair them with a favorite food so your “food feelings” may be transferred to blueberries too.
Can’t get enough of blueberries? Check out these recipes.
* If you are on a low-fiber diet or taking the medication Coumadin (warfarin), check with your health care team before suddenly increasing the amounts of blueberries you eat. In combination with a low-fiber diet or warfarin, blueberries may cause or aggravate side effects.