Blueberries have been named a superfood for a reason! They are delicious, low in calories, and wildly popular. Many people say they are their favourite fruit.
Blueberries are known for their many health benefits, being low in calories but high in nutrients. A 1 cup serving (148g) of blueberries contains:
- 84 Calories
- 4g fiber
- 15g carbohydrates
- Vitamin C & K
- They are around 85% water
Blueberries are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from producing free radicals which damage your cells and contribute to cancer and aging. These powerful berries also are known to reduce oxidative DNA damage which is natural and occurs tens of thousands of times a day in our bodies being the direct reason why we grow older.
The iron, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K are all equal components of having healthy bones. These vitamins and minerals which are found in blueberries have been linked to strength and elasticity in bones and joints, calcium absorption, and a reduce in calcium loss. Healthy bones are very important to be able to have a healthy, active lifestyle.
If you have high blood pressure, then blueberries are the food for you! Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries (therefore low in sodium) help to reduce those at risk for heart disease by lowering their blood pressure.
Blueberries are also high in vitamin C, a vitamin that helps prevent skin damage. The vitamin C helps the collagen in the skin to reduce wrinkles and smooth out the skin. Giving those who consume a healthy amount of fruits high in vitamin C a more youthful appearance.
Studies in animals have also shown that blueberries help increase intelligence, memory, and brain function. Blueberries have also shown these improvements in human studies as well, one study specifically showing “nine older adults with mild cognitive impairment consumed blueberry juice every day. After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in several markers of brain function“. This is partly because the antioxidants in blueberries help repair damage in the brain from oxidative stress, improving cell signalling in aging neurons.
Blueberries are a great choice of fruit for diabetics. They are relatively low in sugar compared to most other fruit and the bioactive compounds help to control blood sugar. The “anthocyanins in blueberries also have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism” which has been shown to prove anti-diabetic effects through both blueberry juice and extract, although it always best to consume the whole blueberry to get all the fiber benefits.
Blueberries are loaded with nutrients for the body and mind and should be a staple food in anyone’s regular diet. They are commonly ranked one of the world’s healthiest foods and sometimes named a superfood. They can be bought fresh, dried, frozen, freeze dried, in juice, or in form of extract and will amp up many different recipes. Please try the lemon blueberry pancakes below and enjoy a delicious breakfast treat with antioxidant benefits.
Epic Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (can substitute 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat depending on your taste)
- 1 banana (to be blended with 1/3 cup water (additional water)) to substitute adding sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp & 1 tsp ground flax seeds to be mixed with 3 tbsps of water to for a flax egg
- 1/2 medium lemon zest
- 1 cup blueberries (preferably fresh, but frozen works too)
- 2 cups plant based milk (almond/oat/soya/cashew)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (mixed with plant milk to curdle)
- Mix 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsps water and set aside in a small bowl or cup for 5-10 minutes until the mixture forms into a gel-like consistency mimicking an egg.
- Mix plant milk in a bowl with lemon juice to curdle.
- Begin by blending your banana and 1/3 cup of water until smooth and set aside. This can also be done by mashing a banana in a small bowl with the water until it is generally smooth (some chunks can be left depending on your taste).
- Next add all your dry ingredients into a bowl (the flour, baking powder, cinnamon) and mix. Create a well in the middle of your dry ingredients.
- Add all your wet ingredients into a bowl (banana mixture, vanilla extract, and plant based milk) and mix until combined.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, add the flax egg and mix until it forms a thick pancake batter consistency. It is okay if it is thicker then a usual pancake batter as this will create fluffy thick cake-like pancakes. If you like thinner pancakes almost like crepes then you want to add more water or plant based milk. You may need to add more water/milk if your pancake batter is becoming too thick, add 2 tbsps at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Add the lemon zest and blueberries into the batter and give a final mix. Remember when your pancake batter sits it will thicken so you may want to add more liquid after it sits for a while, while you are cooking the other pancakes.
- Scoop out 1/3 cup of batter at a time for each pancake and place in a non-stick frying pan or a regular frying pan with a spray of oil. When the pancake is beginning to have air bubbles you can flip it to cook the other side. Remove from heat when fully cooked and has a golden brown colour.
- Top with bananas, warm cooked apples, berries, maples syrup or agave (my favourite), or another desired topping and enjoy!