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Health Benefits of Blueberries

Tasneem Bhatia, MDWild blueberries have been grown in Maine for more than 10,000 years and are one of America’s oldest indigenous crops and one of only a handful of crops indigenous to North America. Unlike farmed blueberries, wild blueberries grow naturally anywhere and in extreme temperatures. For centuries, Native Americans have used the “low-bush” blueberries to heal and nourish the body, mixing them into meats, and making soups, broths, and wojapi, a thick berry sauce.

Wild blueberries can yield enormous health benefits, integrative health advocates say. The stains, or pigments, that wild blueberries leave on our fingers are actually health-protective compounds. These compounds fight cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer, improves memory, and acts as an antiviral to bolster immunity. Tasneem Bhatia, MD, an integrative medicine physician in Atlanta and a Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM), says we should all make wild blueberries a part of our diet. The ABOIM is a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties®.

“Wild blueberries are high in antioxidants,” she says. “They provide about 14 percent of your daily fiber requirements. They are high in vitamin C. And you get all of these benefits in just a cup of blueberries – for 90 calories.” But, that’s not all, she says. Blueberries also fight aging and osteoporosis, help prevent wrinkles, and improve cognition.

A great way to incorporate wild blueberries into our daily diet, Dr. Bhatia says, is by making a blueberry super sauce that we can store in the refrigerator. The sauce keeps for about a week and a half and is simple to make. It combines one cup of blueberries with eight ounces of water, two teaspoons of honey and two teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. The sauce can be used in a variety of creative ways. Mixing it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil makes a delicious salad dressing. You can also add soy sauce to it for a tasty marinade for chicken or fish. For a delicious protein smoothie, Dr. Bhatia recommends blending the blueberry sauce with coconut milk or almond milk and protein powder.

The ABPS supports Dr. Bhatia’s efforts in raising awareness about the importance of establishing and maintaining a healthy diet. Through the ABOIM, the ABPS is committed to advancing an integrative health approach that treats the patient as a whole and takes into account the patient’s diet and lifestyle to help them achieve optimal health and healing. For more information about the ABOIM, contact the ABPS today.