|Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, blueberry continues to top the charts as one of the best choices to
include in a healthy diet.
|Beside, blueberry is a rich source of vitamin C and fiber; it also contains two important compounds- anthocyanin and
ellagic acid. Anthocyanin, a flavonoid, offers a rich blue-purple color to blueberry and contribute its antioxidant
activities. In general, the darker the color of the fruit or vegetable, the higher in flavonoids it is. While, ellagic acid has
been shown to help lower the risk of cancer. People always believe that blueberries have benefits on wound
healing,age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, chronic inflammation,
Alzheimer's, heart disease, arthritis and cancers.
Diets rich in phenolic compounds may be associated with lower risks of several chronic diseases including cancer.
Researchers from University of Georgia, Tifton extracted polyphenols from three blueberry cultivars, Briteblue, Tifblue,
and Powderblue and then separated the polyphenols into phenolic acids, tannins, flavonols, and anthocyanins. They
found all fractions including the extract having antiproliferation activities and the anthocyanin fractions had the greatest
antiproliferation effect in a study using HT-29 and Caco-2 cells. Anthocyanin fractions also resulted in 2-7 times
increases in DNA fragmentation, indicating the induction of apoptosis. 
Free radicals are involved in neurodegenerative disorders, such as ischemia and aging. Treatment with diets enriched
with blueberry has been shown to reduce neurodegenerative changes in aged animals. Researchers from National
Institute on Drug Abuse further found that blueberries have neuro-protective effects in focal ischemic brain including
lowering the risk for ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis and cerebral infarction.  Researchers from University of
Prince Edward Island, Canada, found that blueberry could decrease risk of ischemic stroke in a study of rats. 
Measurement of the antioxidant activity of anthocyanin extracts from blueberries showed there was no significant
difference between fresh, dried, and frozen blueberries.  However, cooking can destroy resveratrol, a
chemo-preventive compound. After 18 min of heating at 190 degrees C, between 17 and 46% of the resveratrol had
found to degrade in the various Vaccinium species. Therefore, the resveratrol content of baked or heat-processed
blueberries or bilberries should be expected to be lower than in the raw fruit.  I would get down to the farmers market
and pick up some berries. WASH THEM WELL. Eat them fresh, cook them or freeze them for later - they retain all their
goodness whether frozen or cooked.
If you don't want to eat raw blueberry, you can preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put blueberries into a baking dish and
sprinkle with lemon juice and rind and half the nutmeg. In a bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Stir in the oats
and remaining nutmeg. Spread this over the blueberries and bake until hot through and golden. If, you feel the calorie
content of this dessert is high for you, you may consider blueberry supplements or extracts.
Blueberry Side Effects
Insufficient studies have been done to determine blueberry side effects. However, blueberry may lower blood sugar
levels, people suffered from diabetes or take other hypoglycemic medications, foods or herbs need to be cautious on
the amount of blueberry intake and discuss with their healthcare provider on the potential benefits and side effects of
blueberry. There was also an outbreak of hepatitis A associated with consumption of raw blueberries in New Zealand.
The presence of hepatitis A virus on the blueberry was confirmed by DNA hybridization and sequencing of PCR
products.  Otherwise, intake of small amounts of blueberry may be safe.
 Cancer Cell Proliferation and Induce Apoptosis. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7320-7329.  Wang Y et al, Dietary supplementation with
blueberries, spinach, or spirulina reduces ischemic brain damage. Exp Neurol. 2005 May;193(1):75-84.  Lohachoompol V et al, The Change of Total
Anthocyanins in Blueberries and Their Antioxidant Effect After Drying and Freezing. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004;2004(5):248-252.  Lyons MM et al,
Resveratrol in raw and baked blueberries and bilberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Sep 24;51(20):5867-70.  Calder L et al, An outbreak of hepatitis A
associated with consumption of raw blueberries. Epidemiol Infect. 2003 Aug;131(1):745-51.  Sweeney MI et al, Feeding rats diets enriched in lowbush
blueberries for six weeks decreases ischemia-induced brain damage. Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Dec;5(6):427-31.