Plump, juicy, and sweet, with vibrant colors ranging from deep purple-blue to blue-black and highlighted by a silvery sheen called a bloom, blueberries are one of nature’s great treasures. Though miniature in size, they are also proof that, when it comes to nutrition, good things really do come in small packages. With 80 calories per cup, virtually no fat and low in sodium, blueberries offer many nutritional benefits.

Native to the North American landscape, blueberries are truly an All-American food. For many years nutritionists and researchers ignored the tiny blueberry because of its relatively low vitamin C content. However, what these people did not know was that the blueberries benefits stem mainly from their incredibly high levels of antioxidant phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients are non-vitamin, non-mineral components of food that have significant healthful benefits. There are literally thousands of different types of phytonutrients, and each phytonutrient is unique in both its physical characteristics and its function.

Research has shown that phytonutrients help the body cells communicate with each other more efficiently, hence preventing mutations at the cellular level and preventing the proliferation of cancer cells. There is still much more that we are learning about the powers of phytonutrients everyday.

Blueberries are so rich in phytonutrients that they provide as much antioxidant protection to the body as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more than 1200 milligrams of vitamin C. It is recommended that you consume 1 to 2 cups of blueberries daily to obtain the full health benefits of this amazing fruit.

These blue gems are fun to eat alone or with yogurt, as a juice, or even cooked into breads and cookies. Studies have also shown that blueberries have remarkable benefits for brain health, especially in older adults with dementia.

Blueberries are packed with vitamin C nutrition.

In just one serving, you can get 14 mg of Vitamin C – almost 25 percent of your daily requirement.  Vitamin C is necessary for growth and development of tissues and promotes wound healing.

Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber.

A handful of blueberries can help you meet your daily fiber requirement.Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and adds bulk to your diet, which may help you feel full faster.

Blueberries are high in manganese.

Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein.