Summer is often thought of as the season for fruit. From fresh watermelon to ripe strawberries, it's the best time to add some fresh produce into your diet, but you should be eating fruit all year. And for men, there is one fruit that should always be an addition to their diet, and that's blueberries. Regardless of the season, you should always have a pint of juicy blueberries on hand.
"Blueberries are some of the most antioxidant-packed foods, especially relative to their calorie intake," says Melissa Majumdar, MS, RD, CSOWM, LDN, registered dietitian and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Half a cup of blueberries contains only 40 calories."
The health benefits of these tiny berries are pretty massive.
But the biggest reason men should be adding blueberries to their diet is because of their heart and metabolism benefits. (And FYI, this is how to fire up your metabolism and lose weight the smart way!)
"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States," says Majumdar. "And anthocyanins, which give blueberries their rich, deep color, can contribute to cardiovascular protection," says Majumdar.
Research indicates blueberries may improve heart health because of their influence on cholesterol levels and endothelial function. While more research is needed, preliminary research indicates that blueberries may also help manage blood pressure.
The Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study also show that individuals with a higher consumption of fruit, especially those high in anthocyanins like blueberries, were associated with decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
"It's estimated that 23% of men have metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease," says Majumdar. "Adding blueberries to our diet, especially in the place of higher sugar, fat, or salt-laden foods, could absolutely improve health."
If you're looking for some ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet, here are some tips from Majumdar:
1/2 cup of blueberries = 1 serving of fruit
Snack – Munch on berries right out of the pint or try them frozen for a late night treat. Pair with some walnuts for a superfood combo!
If you still need ideas, try one of these healthy blueberry muffin recipes.