Handful of Health

You’ve probably heard the phrase “good things come in small packages.”

It’s a favorite saying of a good friend of mine, who is quite a bit shorter than me.

But after reporting the NC Science Now story “Super Fruit,” I can safely say that while the phrase applies to my friend, it certainly fits the humble, tiny, unassuming fruit of the blueberry.

Here’s why.

Check out some of the health benefits of blueberries, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. It turns out a one-cup serving of blueberries:

  • has 84 calories, contains no fat and only 21 carbs. In addition it helps meet the USDA recommendation of 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables for adults.
  • provides a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and manganese.
  • provides 36% of the daily serving of Vitamin K. I mention this only because I didn’t know there was a Vitamin K. It is important for bone health and blood clotting!
  • provides a good source of antioxidants, which can help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • has been shown to lead to a decrease in blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity, according to recent studies.

That’s quite a bit of good stuff packed into a tiny berry. Nutrition experts believe blueberries may hold even more health benefits, but there isn’t enough evidence to report it conclusively yet.

The good news is that this super fruit is available all year round. It is grown in 38 states, but the North Carolina Blueberry Council reports that our state ranks seventh in blueberry production, creating an industry worth about $71 million dollars. About three quarters of the state’s blueberries are sold fresh, either at farms or in retail stores. According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, blueberries will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Bottom line, blueberries are a super food and a super fruit!

- Frank Graff

Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on North Carolina Science Now, a weekly science series that airs Wednesdays, beginning in August 2013, as part of North Carolina Now on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!

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