Blueberries, to me, are a quintessential summer food. And luckily, blueberries are one of those natural treats that are actually good for you! Not just good for you – but great.
Blueberries are frequently in the news for their high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are essential for sustained health because they combat free radicals that damage our cells and DNA. This cellular damage, in turn, may be linked to such health problems as heart attacks, cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and stroke. Blueberries contains dozens of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, making them an ideal food for long-lasting health and also for supporting the body’s natural healing process from chronic disease.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each food we eat exerts an effect on certain energy systems in our body. Blueberries are nourishing to the yin energy. Yin represents all the cool, watery, passive, heavy, rejuvenating, restful, downward and inward energies in our body. (Yin’s counterpart, Yang, represents all the hot, expansive, outward, active, fiery parts of ourselves.) Specifically, blueberries nourish the yin of our kidney energy system, which is the foundation of yin in the body. This makes them ideal to include in the diet for anyone recovering from disease or surgery, or women suffering from menopausal symptoms such as hotflashes, nightsweats, or insomnia. Because of their yin (water) – nourishing quality, blueberries are also helpful for individuals who suffer from constipation or dry stools. The kidney system also controls our bones, low back, knees, and ears. This means blueberries can be included in a diet for issues pertaining to any of these areas. While they don’t exert a direct effect on these various tissues and systems, by nourishing the kidney yin energy of the body they can certainly help.
Blueberries are also rejuvenating to our liver energy system, primarily through their antioxidant qualities and ability to nourish our cellular make-up. They can be included in the diet for cleansing and rebalancing our entire system. For this purpose, they should be accompanied by other anti-oxidant-rich fruits and berries, and all heavy, greasy, fried, or dairy foods should be eliminated temporarily to restart the system.
Blueberries are obviously best for the system when enjoyed naturally – without added sugar or in baked goods. Eat them plain, add them to granola or yogurt, or include them in a healthy smoothie or shake. They can also be a great addition to summer salads.
Remember, though, as with any raw food, that our digestive system likes warmth. If you have a tendency to digestive issues, then be cautious with eating lots of raw blueberries or other fruits. Accompany them with a cup of warm herbal tea to moderate the cooling nature.