A few days ago, I was asking myself what should be the subject of today’s blog and I couldn’t quite make my mind up. Then, I found this week’s shopping list at the bottom of my bag (also known as the Bermuda Triangle… Things fall in it and disappear!) and thought about those ingredients that make a weekly appearance on my shopping lists, that I buy week in, week out; those ingredients that I simply couldn’t be without!
Amongst others, I always buy coconut milk, eggs, soya milk, peppers, bananas, green beans, almonds, blueberries, etc….
Without fail, these ingredients will end up in my shopping bag every week. So I think, over the next few weeks, my focus will be on some of my “can’t-be-without” ingredients and I’ve decided today to start with… Blueberries!!
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and should be your number one weapon in the fight against aging. They help protect cells from free radical damage, they boost immunity and promote digestive health.
Often called a “superfood,” one serving of blueberries provide as many antioxidants as five average servings of broccoli, apples or carrots. They rank top in antioxidant activity compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins (that give the blueberries their beautiful deep purple-blue colour) are potent antioxidants that fight cell damage, improve circulation and help protect against heart problems, stroke, cancer and gum disease.
The proanthocyanidins contained in blueberries increase the potency of their vitamin C content, supporting the collagen in the skin, protecting eye and blood vessels health.
Blueberries also contain antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compounds and are a traditional remedy against stomach upsets, urinary tract infections and coughs and colds.
They help to improve brain function, preserve memory and learning abilities in old age; they are also said to help reduce cognitive decline such as dementia.
Who knew that the tiny, colourful blueberry could pack such a punch?!
Blueberries are delicious eaten fresh, on top of thick Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, but my favourite way of using blueberries is in my favourite easy, speedy breakfast smoothie. The great thing about this smoothie is that you can use frozen blueberries – they pack as much nutritional goodness as fresh blueberries and are much cheaper.
Breakfast Banana and Blueberry Smoothie
1 large, very ripe banana, sliced
2 or 3tbsp home-made almond butter (see last week’s blog for recipe) or peanut butter
2 generous handfuls (approximately 70-75g) frozen blueberries
250ml milk of choice
(If your banana is not very ripe, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth and thickened (the frozen blueberries will help thicken the smoothie.) Pour in a glass and enjoy immediately.
My second favourite way of enjoying blueberries is in blueberry muffins – I love this recipe from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows blog: Blissful Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins. It is an easy recipe to put together and the muffins are so tasty and perfect for breakfast!! I also love the fact that Angela has used spelt flour which is one of my favourite flour to use in baking as it has great texture. I usually use soya milk instead of almond milk and the first time I tried this recipe, I didn’t have coconut sugar so I used golden caster sugar instead and it worked beautifully.
I find my spelt flour at Tesco (Doves Farm Organic) as well as my coconut oil (in the World Foods aisle); my apple cider vinegar and coconut sugar (both Biona Organic) are bought from my local health food shop. I’m sure that these ingredients can be found in most Holland and Barrett stores too.
But, please, do not limit yourself to this recipe. Even if you’re not vegan, have a good browse of Angela’s blog. There are many recipes on there that are sure to become future family favourites.