Not the ordinary blueberries but wild blueberries
Just to be clear: I don’t mean the regular blueberries that you can get in the fruit and vegetable department. The small wild blueberries I mean have so far only been found frozen, in the freezer. The story behind this is quite special. Until 1910, wild blueberries in America were so abundant in the wild that no one bothered to grow them. This changed around 1910 when Frederick Coville, a fruit expert, and Elizabeth White, daughter of the owner of a cranberry company, decided to grow blueberries, or domesticate them as it’s called.
Domesticate; from 100 to 6 bushes
Domestication of a vegetable or fruit starts with the selection of a promising species of wild plant. Frederick and Elizabeth wanted a plant that produced the largest possible berries. They selected the wild blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and offered wild berry pickers a fair amount for each wild shrub of that species that produced larger-than-average berries. When they had a hundred bushes, they were cloned and put in an experimental garden.
In subsequent selections, bushes that gave dark berries disappeared because Frederick and Elizabeth found the lighter-colored berries more attractive, and they also got rid of bushes that produced less tasty berries or were prone to disease. In the end, six bushes remained.
Small and dark turn out to be healthier than large and light
In the decades that followed, even better varieties were developed on the basis of these six shrubs by crossing them. These large blueberries are now grown on all kinds of commercial nurseries, all descending from those first six shrubs. It was only about 15 years ago that it was discovered that selecting the largest and lightest berries was not the wisest choice given our health. The smallest and darkest wild blueberries turn out to be much healthier.
Fortunately, in the past hundred years, one bush of wild berries has escaped tinkering and crossing with other varieties: the rubel berry. These small wild blueberries turned out to be so tasty that they were kept pure. These are the wild blueberries I mean: the size of a pea and as dark as blue-purple ink. They’re not blueberries either, they’re blueberries. This is a different kind.
Wild blueberries: blue peas full of health
In general, we can say that the darker a vegetable or fruit is in color, the healthier it is for us. This also applies to berries. A comparison of 25 commonly eaten fruits shows that blueberries have the most powerful antioxidant effect, and several studies indicate that they can reduce inflammation (which is exactly what antioxidants do) and inhibit the growth of cancer cells (1).
Inflammation also causes cardiovascular disease and research has indeed shown that the inner lining of the blood vessels recovered in patients with a metabolic problem (2) thanks to eating blueberries. Animal studies suggest that berries also lower bad cholesterol in the blood and may lower blood pressure. Still other research shows (3) that they can possibly be used against obesity; stubborn overweight can also be the result of inflammation in the body!
The antioxidants in blueberries are anthocyanins and flavonoids and research has shown that the wild blueberry contains much more of these than the blueberry. If a lot of research shows that the blueberry is already very healthy for us, how potent is the wild blueberry?
Wild blueberries: also to age healthy (surprisingly quickly)
Around 2000, researchers from Tufts University working for the Nutrition Research Center on Aging decided to look into the anti-aging effects of blueberries on rats. Middle-aged rats indeed. One group received normal food but three other groups received either extra spinach, or strawberries or blueberries. At the end of the study, which lasted 8 months, the rats had to do all kinds of tests in the field of body strength, sense of balance and coordination, and their brains were also examined.
The group that had received blueberries came out on top, but most strikingly, their brain activity was chemically ‘younger’ than when the study began. Eating blueberries not only slowed the aging of the brain but actually reversed it. And that in just 8 months! The researchers found this surprisingly quickly.
Research into improved brain functions thanks to blueberries
More and more research is being done into what can keep our brains healthy, even in old age. The above-mentioned researchers conducted a study in 2010 with a group of men and women with an average age of 76 years. These subjects showed early symptoms of dementia. Half of them received two glasses of bilberry juice every day, the other half a comparable drink without blueberries.
After 3 months it turned out that the group that had received berry juice scored 30 percent higher in memory and cognition tests. In addition, they also appeared to have a significantly better mood! Another study in a group of healthy elderly (4) between the ages of 60 and 75 who received 24 grams of freeze-dried berry powder daily (compared to 1 cup of berries) also showed better cognition results: they were significantly better at error-free switching between different tasks; something the brain finds difficult.
Wild blueberries; do they have an adaptogenic effect?
Blueberries and their influence on our health have been scientifically researched many times; the web is full of them. Once again; If blueberries are so healthy for us, how potent are wild blueberries? Anthony William, a well-known medical medium, writes in his book Life-Changing Foods that wild blueberries are adaptogenic even though they are not so recognized.
If food has an adaptogenic effect, this means that this food can strengthen the body wherever it is needed. He writes that wild blueberries are powerful detoxifiers of heavy metals in the body, a powerful food for our brains, a powerful prebiotic that ensures healthy intestinal flora, and also helps to restore the liver.
In short: a multitasker that, as soon as it enters your body, looks for where you need reinforcement. Not only physically but also mentally and emotionally: everything in our body is interrelated.
Eat them fresh, from the freezer, or freeze-dried
I haven’t come across wild blueberries fresh yet, but from the freezer, but there’s nothing wrong with that. They are also available dried and in powder form. I prefer the freezer because I really like them and like to make a breakfast or smoothie with them. Dried berries are often sweetened with sugar, try to avoid that. Freeze-dried as a powder is fine.
My favorite breakfast at the moment is a mix of red fruits (including wild blueberries of course) with a nice splash of whipped coconut milk sprinkled with bee pollen. I make a delicious smoothie with water kefir or almond milk, a cup of wild blueberries (powder is also possible), a tablespoon of maca, and some cold-pressed linseed oil. Add some stevia to make it sweeter. If you find this article valuable for your health and vitality, please help spread the word by sharing it with other women. I also always appreciate it when you leave a comment or tips for other readers. Do you have a great wild blueberry recipe?