No matter where you are in July, it’s probably obvious that blueberries abound. The majority of blueberries available are cultivated, marble-sized ones that grow on tall bushes. There also are smaller, low-bush blueberries grown wildly in the northern parts of the US and Canada. These blueberries, typically frozen at the grocery, have a more tender skin and slightly sweeter taste.
Regardless of the type of blueberries, they have a variety of vitamins (C & K) and minerals like manganese. Possible health benefits include reduced cardiovascular disease risk particularly due to the high amount of plant compounds called anthocyanins. Improved gut health and blood glucose regulation are some of the other potential advantages of eating blueberries regularly. They are even sometimes called a “superfruit” due to the rich nutritional value they offer.
Whether you pick blueberries fresh in the heat of summer or select them from a chilled grocery, they are delectable buttons of flavor. Look for blueberries to be bluish-purple and with no wrinkles on the skin for optimal freshness. Frozen, dried, and canned (in water) blueberries are great year-round options too. You can even freeze fresh blueberries yourself for later use.
Bolster your blueberries this summer with cheese, milk, or yogurt and you will have a winning combination for good health. Dip blueberries in yogurt and freeze them for a refreshing treat or top a salad with shredded cheese and blueberries. Here are some other ways to pair blueberries and dairy:
- Mix up muffins and try this blueberry buttermilk variation with flaxseed for extra flavor and benefits.
- Keep smoothies simple and blend yogurt, milk, and a mix of fruit including blueberries for a vibrant smoothie.
- Elevate your oatmeal by adding healthy additions such as buckwheat, blueberries, and almonds. Frozen blueberries will work if you don’t have fresh ones for this recipe. Low-fat milk is another health-supporting ingredient found in this recipe as it provides calcium, potassium, and vitamin D, nutrients that the dietary guidelines show Americans are under-consuming.
Jennifer Walsh, PhD, RDN is an Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director of Dietetics at James Madison University. She has conducted community nutrition research for over fifteen years with a focus on nutrition education and healthy food access. She teaches Community Nutrition, Counseling Skills in Dietetics, and Management in Dietetics. She resides in Virginia with her husband and two young sons.