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National Blueberry Month

It’s the middle of summer and you’re craving fruit pie. What will be your delicious summer recipe this year? Why not make a gooey, blueberry pie in celebration of July being “National Blueberry Month?” Not only are blueberries good for your health, but they’re also the second most popular berry, and every grandkid’s favorite treat.

Blueberries have an abundance of healthy antioxidants, which, in scientific terms, combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. Basically, they help keep our bodies healthy and strong. Blueberries, in fact, have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. The cardiovascular system is not the only system positively affected by consumption of blueberries: every body system sees results!

Blueberries are also one of the few fruits native to North America, and were first enjoyed by Native Americans for hundreds of years. Did you know over 90% of all the blueberries in the world are grown in the U.S.? The Native Americans also believed that these small berries were good for your health. Leaves from the blueberry bush were used to make a blood purifier that was good for the kidneys, berry juice was supposed to cure coughs, and blueberry tea was used for easing the pain of childbirth.

In modern medicine, the Rutgers Blueberry-Cranberry Research Center found that blueberries as well as cranberries help prevent infections. They may also help to prevent macular degeneration according to Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D., director of the USDA. Research has said that foods rich with antioxidants help reduce your risk of getting cancer and heart disease, prolonging life. It’s no wonder that blueberries are often recommended: they’re loaded with antioxidants! According to the North American Blueberry Council, the blueberry came in with the highest antioxidant level out of 40 different fruits, juices, and vegetables. After many years of research on blueberry antioxidants and their potential benefits for brain health, there is also exciting new evidence that suggests blueberries can improve memory. Even individuals with diabetes saw an improvement in blood sugar regulation when eating blueberries.

The ECI Management Group corporate cafeterias are also gearing up for National Blueberry Month. Radioshack’s Riverfront Café in Fort Worth, Texas serves sweet blueberry English scones and blueberry yogurt parfait to begin the day with. What better way than with one of our healthiest fruits? Strawberries and blueberries are also frequent additions to our fresh whole- grain pancakes.

As well as making fabulous pies, blueberries can also be used in smoothies, breakfast entrees, and other desserts for a blast of sweet flavor. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council even recommends the Native American recipe, “Sautauhig,” which is basically a blueberry cornmeal stew. Whatever you plan on making this summer, treat your friends and family to one of our healthiest, native fruits.

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