- With just 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer many noteworthy nutritional benefits. Here’s the skinny on blueberry nutrition:
Blueberries are packed with vitamin C.
In just one serving, you can get 14 mg of Vitamin C – almost 25 percent of your daily requirement. Vitamin C aids the formation of collagen and helps maintain healthy gums and capillaries. It also promotes iron absorption and a healthy immune system.
Blueberries are dynamos of dietary fiber.
Research has shown that most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diets. Eating foods high in fiber will help keep you regular, your heart healthy and your cholesterol in check. A handful of blueberries can help you meet your daily fiber requirement. What a tasty way to eliminate this worry from your day!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), blueberries are near the top when it comes to antioxidant activity per serving (ORAC values). Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals — unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant activity.
- When grape tomatoes first hit the market in the late nineties, they were a novelty available only in specialty food stores. But it didn’t take long for people to fall in love with these tiny, tasty treats. Grape tomatoes have a sweet flavor, a firm texture, and less juice, so there’s no need to worry about any squirting when you bite into one. Averaging between one-half and three-quarters of an inch in length, they’re perfect for popping whole into your mouth like candy, which is probably why kids adore them too. They’re low in calories and high in vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, and lycopene, so what’s not to like? When buying, look for bright, shiny skin and firm flesh just like the ones found in Handy Candy™.
- Grape tomatoes are high in lycopene. The anti-oxidant lycopene gives tomatoes their ruby red color and also gives those that eat them improved health.
Studies have shown that anti-oxidants prevent the “bad” cholesterol from forming in our blood.
Lycopene is one of the best nutritional anti-oxidants you can consume naturally. Found in fresh tomatoes, it is even more potent in the many concentrated processed tomato products found in your grocery store.
Tomato & Lycopene Benefits
The benefits of tomatoes, tomato products and lycopene have been well studied and documented. Diets high in lycopene have been found to:
• Reduce the risk of heart disease
• Reduced the risk of some cancers
• Reduce the risk of macular degeneration disease
We cannot naturally produce lycopene, therefore we can only get lycopene from our diet. Foods high in tomatoes and/or tomato products will give you the benefits of lycopene.
- In structure, each grape berry features semi-translucent flesh encased inside a smooth, thin skin. Some varieties contain edible seeds, while others are seedless. The color of the berry is because of the presence of poly-phenolic pigments in them. Red or purple berries are rich in anthocyanins while white-green berries contain more of tannins, especially, catechin. Interestingly, these antioxidant compounds are densely concentrated in the skin and seeds!
Grapes are rich in polyphenolic phytochemical compound resveratrol. Resveratrol is one of the powerful anti-oxidant which has been found to play a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections.
Resveratrol reduces stroke risk by altering the molecular mechanisms inside the blood vessels. It does so, firstly by reducing susceptibility of blood vessel damage through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would otherwise elevate blood pressure) and secondly, through increased production of the vasodilator substance, nitric oxide (a beneficial compound that causes relaxation of blood vessels).
Anthocyanins are another class of polyphenolic anti-oxidants present abundantly in the red grapes. These phyto-chemicals have been found to have an anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, as well as anti-cancer activity.
Catechins,a type of flavonoid tannin group of anti-oxidants, found in the white/green varieties have also shown to possess these health-protective functions.