When I was attending high school in the early 1990s, I would often race home to catch an American cartoon by the name of Roger Ramjet. This was only after I had edited a new mix tape of songs from the Top 40 of course.
Roger Ramjet had a super catchy jingle with one particularly striking lyric: “When Roger pops a proton pill, the crooks begin to worry”. This ‘proton pill’ once eaten, would power him up, give him extra strength and he was guaranteed to defeat any approaching enemy .
The only reason I bring up this obscure early 90s reference is because due to the subliminal power of that jingle, it comes into my mind every time I eat a blueberry. You see blueberries are in fact nature’s ‘proton pill’ and when consumed, the crooks do begin to worry. Let me explain:
Out of all the wonderful foods provided by the Mother Nature Supermarket, blueberries are amongst the highest in what is known as antioxidants. And our bodies need these antioxidants for very important reasons.
To our bodies, the ‘crooks’ are what are known as free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once they are formed, these highly reactive free radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. I like to think of them as terrorists. They are usually out to inflict some kind of damage on us.
This is where the antioxidants come in. They are like the UN peacekeepers of our bodies and can safely interact with free radicals, perhaps even negotiate terms and thus terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. We love these guys. That is why eating foods that contain them is highly recommended as they can help fight off disease.
Prunes, raspberries, walnuts, pinto/red beans and strawberries are also full of UN peacekeeping antioxidants.
Hopefully that helps to clear up my Roger Ramjet subliminal jingle metaphor: the crooks are the free radicals and they begin to worry when he pops a pill..which in our case is the humble blueberry: nature’s Proton Pill.
Here are some other benefits of consuming our little purple friends:
- Containing antioxidants means you reduce your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Just a small handful is packed full of fibre, meaning you stay fuller for longer and aid your gut health.
- They are low in fructose
- Just one serving can give you a quarter of your daily value of Vitamin C which helps you maintain a heathy immune system.
- They boost brain health. Lets be honest, who couldn’t benefit from this
- They can reduce DNA Damage- Which May Help Protect Against Ageing
Here’s some science to back up these mutterings:
And here are some interesting uses for blueberries:
- Blend a handful of blueberries and some plain yogurt together. Then add coconut flakes or brazil nuts on top for a quick snack or light but filling breakfast
- Freeze the blueberries then add a dollop of cream on top for a wonderful dessert ( I do this often). We also buy the frozen variety sometimes..after checking where they have come from 😉
- Make your own blueberry jam with chia seeds. Blend together a punnet of blueberries, half a banana and one cup of water. Then add half a cup of chia seeds and stir. Pop in the fridge and by morning you will have made a natural jam.
- Toss a few blueberries through a garden salad for a sweet surprise. See Zoe’s ‘Bridging Salad’ in That Sugar Book (just go into a shop and take a photo of the page if you don’t have it: we won’t tell anyone 😉 )
- Take a punnet of blueberries on a road trip or on the bus. Very easy to just ‘pop a proton pill’ when the need arises.
- Feed them to your toddlers. Ours is obsessed with them. Buying at a farmer’s market though in larger amounts mean daddy’s wallet or temperament doesn’t explode.