Blueberries are a tasty and nutritious fruit which are great with cereal at breakfast or just for a refreshing snack at anytime. WildBlueberries.com refers to blueberries as nature’s antioxidant superfruit. Wild blueberries are being investigated in regard to their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help protect against diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. In a report on how cooking blueberries may alter their nutritional value, Bioscience Technology wrote on Oct. 30, 2013 that baking this delicious fruit may in fact change their super health benefits.
Because of their high polyphenol content, blueberries are called a superfood. However, when they are served as pasty pie filling or when baked in muffins, their health benefits may be altered. In studies on how cooking and baking affect the polyphenols in blueberries, there have been mixed findings, with levels of some of these substances increasing while others fell.
In their naturally wild state, eating blueberries may actually improve your thinking, while reducing your risk for heart disease and inflammation. Research has suggested it is a set of natural plant compounds which are called polyphenols which give the fresh fruit these benefits. However, blueberries are often processed for juicing and canning. Processing blueberries has been found to lower polyphenol levels by 22 to 81 percent.
Reseaercher Rodriguez-Mateos and colleagues sought to test the stability of the health-promoting compounds in blueberries during cooking, proofing, which is when the dough rises before cooking, and baking. This research is reviewed in an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It has been concluded that due to the observation of mixed effects seen during cooking and baking, a better understanding of the impact of processing is needed in order to maximize the retention of these phytochemicals in blueberry containing-products. Until this issue is settled, there remains no doubt that fresh blueberries offer many very valuable health benefits.