Raw Blueberries More Nutritious Than Cooked

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 03:21 PM

By Nick Tate

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There's a reason blueberries are considered a "superfood": They're loaded with beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols. But new research shows the best way to maximize their health potential is to eat them raw and not served warm or baked in pies or muffins.

In a new study in the American Chemical Socieity's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists who studied how cooking and baking affect the popular fruit's polyphenols found some food-processing methods (including juicing and canning) can cut their nutritional benefits significantly.

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Lead researcher Ana Rodriguez-Mateos and colleagues noted past studies have found eating blueberries is associated with improved thinking and a reduced risk for heart disease and inflammation.
 
But juicing and canning the berries lowers their levels of polyphenols — such as anthocyanin, procyanidin, quercetin, and phenolic acids — by up to 81 percent. Baking them in breads, muffins, or pies also affects their polyphenol content, the study found.
 
"Due to their possible health benefits, a better understanding of the impact of processing is important to maximize the retention of these phytochemicals in berry-containing-products," the researchers concluded.

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