The Blueberry Edition
Blueberries have long been hailed for their anti-ageing benefits. I refuse to call them a superfood or superfruit since this is purely a marketing term and has no scientific credibility. Lets just call them very healthy. A major flaw in blueberry studies is that they never compare their observed effects to other fruits so technically we can't say its superior to other fruits and vegetables.
The health benefits of blueberries are mainly thanks to two powerful antioxidants: pterostilbene and anthocyanin. Pterostilbene is chemically similar to resveratrol, the anti-ageing chemical found in wine. However, pterostilbene is 4x more bioavailable. Anthocyanin is the molecule that gives certain fruits their blue-purple colour. The well known and scientifically proven health benefits of blueberry consumption include:
- Improves brain function
- Reduces blood sugar
- Has anti-cancer effects
- lowers blood pressure
- Improves immune function against infection
What you may not know is that blueberries are also great for your bowels. Not only because they are high in fibre but because they are rich in tannins and pectin which both help bind stools. Thus blueberries work well against diarrhoea.
How much is enough? The majority of human studies showing positive health results appear to use 1 cup of blueberries per day. This accounts for a whopping 50% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C and 6 grams of dietary fibre.
Some of my favourite blueberry recipes:
Raw blueberry chocolate bark
This is such a versatile recipe and you can use a lot of creative licence here as it’s hard to get it wrong.
- 100g coconut oil, gently melted
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder or carob (I use a 1:1 mix)
- Sweetener to taste: I use a sprinkling of monk fruit or green leaf stevia but you could also use 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, raw honey or rice malt syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A tiny pinch of sea salt
- ⅓ cup fresh or frozen blueberries, or use any fresh berries or dried fruits
- ⅓ cup flaked coconut, or other nuts and seeds
- optional: 1 tablespoon coconut butter, almond butter or peanut butter
Line a dinner plate or baking tray with baking paper or glad wrap. Whisk all ingredients together apart from the berries, coconut and coconut butter (if using). Pour the mixture onto the prepared surface. Swirl the coconut or nut butter through. Scatter over the berries and coconut. Place in the fridge (few hours) or freezer (30 min) until set. To serve, break into shards.
Raw smashed Blueberry and Vanilla jam
- 700 g blueberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste / extract
- a little stevia or 2 fresh dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon gelatin
- juice from ½ lemon
Add the berries, vanilla and sweetener in a high performance blender and blend until smooth. Place the lemon juice in a small saucepan and sprinkle over the gelatin. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then gently warm over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved.
Add the chia and gelatin mix to the blender and mix through. Pour into glass jars and allow the jam to settle and develop for 30 minutes in your refrigerator.
Blueberry and coconut jellies
- Juice and flesh of 1 young coconut, flesh chopped
- 1.5 tablespoon powdered grass-fed gelatine
- 200 g blueberries or use a mix of berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries)
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (optional)
Place 3 tablespoons of the coconut water in a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the surface,then stir quickly for 30 seconds. Allow the gelatine to ‘bloom’ for 5 minutes. Place the pan over low heat and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk the remaining coconut water into the gelatine mixture. Pour the jelly mixture into your jelly mould of choice until 3/4 full. Add the berries and coconut flesh and sprinkle on some chia seeds. Refrigerate for a few hours or until set.
Peanut butter and blueberry muffin tops
- 130g peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean extract/paste
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- sweetener of choice: 1/8 tsp green leaf stevia or monk fruit extract. Or you can use smashed banana or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white (if using green leaf stevia or monk fruit extract)
- 70g blueberries
- pinch salt
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except blueberries and mix together until very well combined. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Measure out roughly two tablespoon sized balls of the cookie batter onto the lined baking tray, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Bake for 10 minutes or until they look golden.
My fav blueberry muffin recipe: