Friday, July 13, 2012

Fruit : Blueberries

Blueberries are also known as bilberries, whortleberries and hurtleberries and are one of the few fruits native to North America. Native Americans used the berries, leaves and roots for medicinal purposes and the fruit was also used as a fabric dye.  The berries were also combined with meat into a nutritious dried jerky.

Health benefits of Blueberries

The health benefits of this tiny fruit are enormous.  It's one of the most powerful foods you can eat.  Here is just a partial list of benefits :
  • Prevent breast cancer
  • prevents colon cancer
  • protects against oesophageal cancer
  • prevents cancer of the small intestine
  • lowers stress levels
  • improves memory
  • increases energy levels
  • aids normal brain functioning
  • prevents muscle damage
  • stops eyesight from deteriorating
  • prevents heart disease
  • prevent diabetes
  • improves health of the joints
  • protects the immune system
  • improves intestinal health
  • lowers blood sugar levels
  • protects the nervous system
  • protects eye retina from sunlight & oxygen damage
  • keeps the skin healthy and youthful
To gain the full benefits of blueberries you really need to eat them at least four times a week and every day is better, but the good news is that just having half a cup a day is enough to give you all the nutrients you need.

How to grow Blueberries

Many gardeners like to put in blueberry bushes because they don't take up much space and can even be grown in pots.  The only downside is that they take a while to produce.  You won't usually get a crop until the third year and it's not until year six when they will really be prolific.  If you are setting up a garden that you are hoping will produce well into the future then, just as with fruit trees, this is a good investment.

Here's a video that shows how to plant a blueberry bush.

These videos show how to grow blueberries.

And this one shows how to grow blueberries in a pot.

How to use Blueberries
Blueberry tea is very popular and refreshing whether you have it hot or over ice.  It has been used for centuries by natural healers in the treatment of gout, diarrea, coughs and bladder infections.  It has also been shown to have a positive effect on blood circulation and may help with arthritic pain. Here are a few good varieties you can try. 

You can also reap the benefit of blueberries by using them in home made beauty treatments.  Here are a few face mask recipes to try.

Face Mask for Oily Skin

Into a processor put 4 tablespoons of fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon of oat flour 1 teaspoon of almond flour, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of water.  Process until all the ingreddients are combined evenly.

To use, apply to freshly cleaned skin. Apply the paste evenly over the skin's surface, leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse several times with cool water.

Face Mask for all types of skin

Puree in a blender 3 tablespoons of crushed blueberries with 1/2 a cup of sour cream or plain yogurt.  This will be runny so refrigerate for an hour before using. Apply to face and neck and leave to penetrate for 15 to 20 minutes.  Rinse off with tepid water. 

Blueberry and Honey Mask

Puree 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of honey and a tablespoon of almond flour until finely blended.  Spread mixture over your face and leave for 15 minutes.  Rinse with warm water, then follow with cool water to close your pores. 

With all the above masks you need to use them the day you make them since they are made with fresh ingredients.

If making your own mask seems like too messy and time consuming a process, you might want to try some of the ready made ones that are available. 
Here is the writeup on this one :
Blueberry has the richest source of antioxidants, which work by fighting free radicals. This highly formulated Organic Blueberry Mask helps to improve the growth of healthy young skin cells. It increases cell regeneration, detoxifies and improves skin moisture level. Naturally regenerative, protective and age-defying

This one isn't organic but it is a lot cheaper.


Of course the best way to get all the benefits of blueberries is to eat them, and easiest way is just plain with a bit of whipped cream.  Easy and delicious.

When you have the time to make them, you can't beat a breakfast of blueberry pancakes with blueberry sauce.

These healthy blueberry muffins are a great way to have your blueberries as well.

And blueberry cake with a cup of coffee or tea is a great snack.

Finally, Blueberry shortcake is a healthy and delicious special occasion dessert.

Today's inspirational garden includes blueberry plants in pots from

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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