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Healthiest Foods: Blueberries

Mary Murray

   Though all berries have health benefits, blueberries are at the top of the pack. "Blueberries are in a different class because of that deep blue color," says Dr. Fatma Huffman, head of Florida International University's dietetics and nutrition department.

Benefits

  • Anthocyanin: This flavonoid provides the blueberry's vivid color and has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • Vitamin C: The nutrient can lower the risk of many types of cancer as well as cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamin A: This is essential for healthy vision.

Eat it Because

   The abundance of antioxidants makes this fruit beneficial to combat diseases like heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration. "The antioxidants found in blueberries help to protect cells and promote healthy aging," says Courtney Burke, a certified nutrition consultant and healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods in Palm Beach Gardens.

 

Try This: Blueberry Pancakes, from Hamburger Heaven

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil

Method

  1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the milk, egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until only a few lumps remain.
  2. Let the batter stand for five full minutes for extra fluffiness. Add blueberries.
  3. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and brush with 1 tsp. vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, slowly pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or into the hot pan. Cook until batter bubbles, about two minutes, then flip and cook until the center of the pancake is set and the other side is brown, about two more minutes.
  4. Makes two servings.

Blueberry Syrup Ingredients

  • 6 to 7 cups blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 7 cups granulated sugar

Method

  1. Crush the blueberries and toss with lemon juice. Put in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for seven to 10 minutes or until berries are soft.
  2. Strain the cooked berries, squeezing as much juice as possible.
  3. Put the remaining juice back into the sauce pan, add sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one minute.
  4. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
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