The anti-inflammatory compounds in blueberries have potential for reducing some of the risk factors for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, arthritis, Alzheimer’s--all related to the inflammatory response.
Sonoma, CA (Vocus) November 16, 2009
Cranberries, meet your long lost cousins: blueberries. Who knew? Native Americans, thatÂs who. Long before the Mayflower dropped anchor on these shores, American Indian tribes were combining blueberries and cranberries. They understood that teaming this dynamic duo of fruits doubles, not only the flavor, but also the astonishing health benefits both berries provide.
Inventing historyÂs first nutrition-packed power bar, Native American Indians pounded blueberries and cranberries together into dried meat to make pemmican, a portable meal. They also blended blueberries with cranberries to make a medicinal poultice to heal wounds and prevent infection.
Today, scientific data provides strong evidence confirming anti-inflammatory properties for both blueberries and cranberries. ÂThey are the same genus and have similar chemistry,Â explains Dr. Amy B. Howell, an associate research scientist at the Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research at Rutgers University. ÂWeÂre learning that itÂs not just about antioxidants but also the anti-inflammatory compounds in blueberries and cranberries. They get cells talking to each other in a way that can help improve memory, motor coordination and vision. ItÂs very exciting research. There is potential for reducing some of the risk factors for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, arthritis, AlzheimerÂs -- they are all related to the inflammatory response.Â
Adding to the research findings, Linda Murray Berzok, noted historian and food writer in the book, American Indian Food, reports that Native Americans prepared a sauce mixing blueberries and cranberries with corn stalk juice as a sweetener. They served it with roasted meats like venison, bear and turkey. Early settlers watched the Native Americans and learned to use the berries in a sauce to accompany meat. And, the Native Americans learned from the colonists to make their berry sauces with sugar.
So this holiday season, go native, and reunite blueberries with cranberries. YouÂll be boosting an old favorite with rich added taste and nutrients and taking a tradition back to its roots. The holidays are a time to be grateful for abundance, and thanks to an abundant supply of fresh blueberries from Chile, Americans now can enjoy this luscious antioxidant-rich super berry all winter long.
Fresh Blueberry and Cranberry Relish
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh orange juice
8 oz. fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the berries soften, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and chill. Best made in advance to let flavors blend.
Makes 12 1/4-cup servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 76, fat 0, sat fat 0, cholesterol 0, sodium 0, dietary fiber 0, protein 0
Other Ways to Enjoy Blueberry and Cranberry Relish
- Make sure to make enough of this delectable tangy relish to transform your leftover turkey and ham sandwiches from mundane to marvelous
- Ladle some relish into pretty glass jelly jars, tie a ribbon around the lids and take them around to the neighbors as healthy homemade holiday gifts.
- Spoon some of that jewel-toned tasty relish over your morning pancakes, waffles and blintzes or mix into your oatmeal for a sweet healthy way to start your day.