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Is there something special about blueberries?

Branching out with fruits is exactly what the Healthy Foods Expert recommends! It's great that you already include apples in your meal plan. Like you point out, they're easy to "grab," and apples are definitely included as one of the World's Healthiest Foods.

Every time you start thinking that a serving of fruit might "hit the spot," however, try to think about the rainbow of possibilities offered by this food group. The reds and oranges and yellows and purples and blues are indeed very special! The health benefits of these colors are as distinct as the colors themselves. So, mix and match up the colorful fruit that you consume, trying to eat at least 2 servings a day for optimal health.

Blueberries — a source of the phytonutrients resveratrol

You asked about blueberries. Did you know that recent research has put them in the same category as red grapes in terms of their disease-preventing properties?

One reason may be because blueberries turn out to be an important source of resveratrol, a substance that is produced by at least 70 different types of plants and that is used by the plants as a protective device against bad weather, insects, bacteria, or fungi. The resveratrol in the blueberries is found mostly in the skin, and research studies show its effectiveness in preventing different types of heart disease and cancer. In fact, Agnes Rimando, a research chemist with the Agricultural Research Service in Oxford, Mississippi, believes that blueberries may turn out to be superior to red grapes when it comes to resveratrol content. As you can see, there is something very special about blueberries! They'd make a great addition to your meal plan.

Practical tips on purchasing, storing and enjoying blueberries

When you're in the grocery store, select blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform color. Gently shake the whole container that is holding the berries, and notice whether they move freely. If they don't, the blueberries may be soft and damaged or moldy. Put that container back, and try another one. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. They should be free from moisture since the presence of water will cause the berries to decay more quickly.

Blueberry are usually packaged in plastic mesh containers, or plastic containers with holes on all sides. When you get them home, don't rinse them. You'll remove the whitish bloom on the outside that helps prevent spoilage. But take a few minutes to remove any damaged berries - they can spread mold to their neighbors.

When you're ready to eat them, you can give them a quick rinse. Have you tried them on a tossed salad? On cereal? In yogurt? In combination with your apple slices? Give all of these options a try.

Enjoy a rainbow's worth of fruit

Don't forget that even though blueberries are delicious and feature a host of nutrients, including resveratrol, all of the World's Healthiest Fruits have their own unique composition and belong in your meal plan. Yes, apples are easy to grab. But the little bit of extra time it takes to have blueberries, or strawberries, or raspberries or red grapes around is well worth it.

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