Review | Blueberries

Review | Blueberries

A review on Blueberries, blue in color, black in health benefits.

Intro

Fad diet aside, blueberries are fucking awesome. These little blue demons are all over the place and right now is such a great time of year because they are cheap. If you are training day in and day out, working 9 – 5 or just rolling with your couch, you need to introduce blueberries into your life. Even if you are a psychopath and cannot enjoy eating them, have some juice, you will benefit from it. Blueberries are the poster child of eating healthy for a reason besides the fact that they look good, I mean that’s why I am not a poster child for anything, I am not as pretty as a blueberry…that’s a saying right? Blueberries besides being pretty are packed full of antioxidants, good for your brain, low on the glycemic index and down right tasty.  Ultimately food can be good for you and enjoyable to eat, I mean hell, that’s why foods taste certain ways. With this review we will look into really why they are so damn good for you and how they have reached flaming-face-smashing-hammer-wielding-warrior-god status. Also there will be a recipe showcasing the new format that will be found in my upcoming recipe book!

About to smash your body with a 10 ton hammer of antioxidants and health benefits! It doesn't get more metal than that
About to smash your body with a 10 ton hammer of antioxidants and health benefits! It doesn’t get more metal than that

General Information

Oh blueberries how we love you. Blueberries are the second most consumed berry in the world. That has to be for a reason. Their health benefits are as plentiful as they are in general. They really are a superfood and I really hate using that term but there really is no better way to describe these power packed little berries. We know what blueberries do for us but what are the origins? Blueberries are fruits that are primarily grown on two different species of bush. Low-bush also known as wild blueberries and high-bush blueberries which are more commonly found and commercially used. The “wild” low-bush berries are known for being smaller, intense in color/flavor and of course more expensive. So the majority of us are consuming high-bush blueberries.Blueberry nutrition

Blueberries are perfect for Jiu Jitsu athletes and all other human beings alike. Their antioxidant qualities are fantastic for us. It almost seems like they were put here just for BJJ players. Why might you ask? Blueberries improve brain function, mental focus, reduce memory loss, that sounds pretty good to me seeing that we go into class day in and day out to have better responses, memorize moves and sequences. Oh it gets better! Blueberries aid in fat loss because they are low in calories, high in fiber and rank low on the glycemic index. Want to cut weight the proper way? Meaning eating well and losing actual fat rather than dropping water, then here is your ticket. I have saved the best for last, blueberries help reduce damage to muscles from taxing exercise. Hmm I am sold.

Important to note: if your blueberries look “dusty” this is a good thing, do not wash them off until right before you eat them. If you wash this off before you store them they will deteriorate much faster than if you just left them alone.

This is what the 9am bullpen looks like at IBJJF. Just less round.
This is what the 9am bullpen looks like at IBJJF. Just less round.

Fun yet aggravating fact: I hail from the great state of Maine where you will literally see stands on the side of single lane roads where people are selling buckets full of blueberries in the summer for 10 bucks. I really kick myself now for never taking advantage of that now that I am spending $5 for a pint of blueberries in Broke-land, I mean Brooklyn. The price is lower because Maine produces the most blueberries than anywhere else.

When is the best time to eat blueberries?

Time of year: Blueberry bushes grow year round but the best time for maximum flavor explosiveness buy your berries in the Summer months. They will be the most plentiful and tasty then. A good tip would be buy in bulk when they are cheap and the best quality and freeze them for the winter months.

I would rather go to the store and snag them, though I would not hate having this as my backyard
I would rather go to the store and snag them, though I would not hate having this as my backyard

Time of ingestion: In reality most of us are lacking in our fruit and vegetable consumption. That is a whole different can of worms. But the best time to consume blueberries would be WHENEVER YOU CAN! I personally opt for the morning because I can load up smoothies with mucho servings of berries and because blueberries are commonly found in breakfast condiments. Berries for me are for smoothies, snacks, dessert and use as a meal addition. Try and get at least 1 – 2 cups of berries in per day to reap all of the rewards ( reap now because there is no IBJJF ref looming over your at breakfast…or at least I hope to hell there isn’t.)

Fun Fact: Blueberries flavored products do not contain actual blueberries but rather a product of culinary mad scientists toying around with ingredients to mimic the flavor, color and appearance of blueberries. So go for fresh, frozen or juiced.

Benefits

  • Loaded with antioxidants which help protect our bodies as a whole and improve brain function…with that being said
  • Improve focus and reduce memory loss
  • Reduces and slows down negative effects of aging on cognitive processing
  • Great source of vitamins and minerals including, but not limited to; Vitamins A, C, E and B. Zinc, magnesium, copper and potassium.
  • Readily available at affordable prices no matter what time of year.
  • Aid in regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Helps reduce cholesterol and regular blood fat levels resulting in a better cardiovascular system. Who doesnt want a better cardio system?
  • Low in calories, high in taste and fiber. Anybody cutting weight here?

    Bath salt berries!!! Eat them before they eat you!
    Bath salt berries!!! Eat them before they eat you!

Picking your berries

Let’s figure out the best way to get these blue balls. There are all sorts of options out there from organic, fresh, frozen, or even in a can put there by a man in a factory downtown…wait those are peaches. But seriously knowing the difference between the selections can be crucial in many circumstances from health benefits to monetary reasons. So let’s look at the 2 most common choices you will have to make when selecting blueberries.

Organic vs Generic: Shockingly enough the prices are worth it here when it comes to going with organic blueberries. Organic blueberries offer up much higher levels of antioxidants than non-organic. Does this mean non-organic blueberries are garbage? Absolutely not. It boils down to you get what you pay for so if you really have the disposable income to buy organic blueberries, do so, if you are sleeping on the mats at your gym when the lights go out, opt for any blueberries you can get your hands on, you will still gain from them.

Why add ice to a smoothie when you have blueberry ice sucka?!
Why add ice to a smoothie when you have blueberry ice sucka?!

Fresh vs Frozen: This one really is based on the season. Fresh blueberries in the Summer are cheap and damn good. When they are out of season they are pretty ok but can border on bland and yet they become more expensive. This is when you should buy or consume frozen blueberries. Freezing your own from the summer or buying already frozen berries is the way to go in the off season. Blueberries actually lose nothing nutritionally from being frozen unlike many other fruits and vegetables. You are only winning in this situation. Buy according to the season, it will maximize taste and minimize wallet dehydration.

Recipe 

Make this recipe in bulk to always have on hand for your protein pancakes instead of typical maple syrup! This is also a sneak peak into the upcoming Grappler Gourmet book!

Click for a full sized printable version!
Click for a full sized printable version!

Flavor pairings: Apples, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, honey, lemon, maple syrup, other berries, peaches, sugar, and of course, yogurt.

Conclusion

Black and blue has never felt so good.
Black and blue has never felt so good.

For humor sake I want to give them a “blue belt” ranking but I just cannot. They are too good for us and really after reading and studying them, it seems like they were put here specifically for Jiu Jitsu athletes. You really should add more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet anyways so what better way than with these little rock stars. So go to the store, grab a blue(berry) to roll with and enjoy the benefits. But first go sign up for the Grappler Gourmet Weekly newsletter below to get super awesome reviews, guides and interviews delivered right to your email! Need a new gi? Check out www.invertedgear.com. Want to get more than just your blueberry fix? Use GOURMET10 at www.q5sn.com for 10% off your order! Eat well, train hard. Oss!



Images: Vapzone Getrealliving Wildblueberryhealthblog Alaradeck FreshCo

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