Foods That Cure – Blueberry Cures
America. They may be found growing wild in the Northern reaches of the
United States, as well as Canada, and are raised commercially primarily
in Michigan, Maine, and New Jersey. Interestingly, blueberries are one of
the few fruits which are exclusively North America in origin, although a
close relative, the bilberry, grows wild in Europe.
Blueberries were a favorite food of Native Americans, who used them
to make pemmican, a combination of dried meat, meat fat, and berries.
Native Americans sun dried the meat and berries, ground them together,
and mixed them with fat. The animal fat acted as a natural preservative,
extending the shelf life of the mixture indefinitely.
Commercial blueberries are less nutritious than the wild type. Only
commercial berries are readily available. However, few people realize
that much of the modern blueberry crop comes from “wild” commercial
blueberry plants not found in plantations; in other words, plants which
have grown voluntarily as a result of the dissemination of the seeds by
animals, birds, wind, and weather. As a result, it may not be necessary to
forage in order to eat wild berries.
Blueberries are one of Nature’s finest fruits in terms of curative
powers. According to herbalist Dr. Joseph Kadans blueberries are notable
for their ability to purify the blood as well as their antiseptic powers. C.B.
Harris mentions in Kitchen Remedies that they have been utilized
historically as a tonic for the kidneys, because they promote the healthy
flow of urine. Blueberries also help block the formation of kidney stones.
They have also been found invaluable in the treatment of diabetes. A book
on herbal pharmacy from the 1940s describes how blueberries
successfully cured a number of cases of diabetes. The cure was even more
effective when an extract of the fresh leaves was dispensed. There is one
problem with the blueberry remedy: being fruit, blueberries, contain a fair
amount of sugar, and this restricts their use in diabetes. The exception
might be wild blueberries, which are lower in sugar or, preferably, herbal
tea made from blueberry leaves.
Perhaps the reason blueberries are so valuable for diabetics is that
they are rich in manganese, a mineral needed for carbohydrate
metabolism. Horatio Wood, author of a 1940s natural medicine textbook,
attributes the anti-diabetic action to an unknown substance called
myritillin, named after blueberry’s botanical name Vaccinium myrtillus.
Researchers have yet to discover just what this substance is, but one fact
is certain: it does help normalize blood sugar levels.
Contrary to popular belief blueberries are relatively low in calories. In
fact, they are lower in sugar than many fruits, being less than 15% sugar.
They contain a fair amount of niacin, vitamin C, and iron. Furthermore,
they are one of the few fruits rich in manganese. Incredibly, a heaping cup
of blueberries contains as much as one half milligram, which is about
30% of the daily need. While wild blueberries are relatively rich in
vitamin C, commercial blueberries are not a dependable source, unless
they are eaten freshly picked.
Blueberries’ greatest nutritional strength comes from substances other
than vitamins and minerals: they are rich in pigments called
anthocyanosides, a category of bioflavonoids. This is where the greatest
curative powers of blueberries arise. All berries contain anthocyanosides,
but the greatest concentrations are found in wild berries. However,
commercial berries also contain valuable amounts. The type found in
blueberries has a particularly critical effect upon the eyes. Perhaps this is
why wild creatures that depend upon these berries, such as birds, bear,
and deer, have such stupendous vision. The anthocyanosides are
particularly important for enhancing night vision. It has long been known
that the eye contains a substance called visual purple. This substance is
found within the retina, primarily in tiny organelles called rods. When
light passes into the eye, it strikes the retina and enters the rods. These
rods act to decode the light message and help the brain interpret it. In
essence, the rods act as an absorptive surface, capturing the light long
enough so that the nervous system can interpret the message. The rods are
ultra sensitive to light and are able to absorb it to such a degree that they
give humans the power to see even in the most dim light. Without them,
night vision is dramatically diminished. Here is the point: When light
strikes the rods, visual purple, which is a purple-colored chemical found
within them, is activated. It then sends chemical messages to the brain,
describing what the eye is seeing. Ultimately, as a result of repeated
exposure to light, the visual purple is depleted, and it must be replaced for
night vision to remain normal. The warning signs of visual purple
deficiency include night blindness, sensitivity of the eyes to bright light
(especially at night), tired feeling or heaviness of the eyes, spots before
the eyes, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.
Other organs besides the eyes benefit from blueberry antioxidants. A
recent U.S. government study found that of some forty fruits and
vegetables tested, blueberries were the most potent in antioxidant action.
Incredibly, about one-half cup of blueberries showed more antioxidant
strength than the RDA of vitamin E or C.
People who work with bright lights, such as photographers, computer
operators, and TV crews, are highly vulnerable to developing visual
purple deficiency. Fluorescent lighting also accelerates its destruction.
The primary nutrients needed for the synthesis of visual purple are
vitamin A, zinc, riboflavin, and anthocyanosides. Regarding the latter,
blueberries are the top dietary source, because they contain a special type
of anthocyanoside which is utilized directly in the formation of visual
purple. It should be no surprise that purple colored berries, particularly
blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, boysenberries, and bilberries, are
richest in the substances which feed visual purple. Thus, it is a simple rule
that if you eat purple pigments of any sort, it will aid in visual purple
formation. The darker the berries are in color, the more helpful they will
be in enhancing vision. Blueberries are among the darkest.
It makes sense that if an individual has a “pigment” deficiency, the
best way to correct it would be to eat pigment. This is why the
anthocyanosides are so valuable. These fruit pigments rapidly regenerate
visual purple, resulting in a virtual immediate improvement in vision. The
rate of improvement is dependent upon the severity of deficiency. In
some individuals it may take weeks or months to fully restore the levels
of visual purple to normal.
An additional benefit is due to the role played by anthocyanosides in
strengthening the walls of blood vessels, especially the tiny ones that
supply the eyeball. Known as capillaries, these are the tiniest blood
vessels of the body, and they serve it by coursing tortuously over untold
billions of miles. They are found in a high density in regions requiring
large amounts of oxygen such as the eyes and brain.
Anthocyanosides found in commercial and wild berries are useful for
virtually any visual disturbance ranging from night blindness to macular
degeneration, because of their immense role in improving capillary
circulation. If vitamin A and riboflavin are added to the protocol, the
beneficial effects upon both circulation and visual purple formation will
be greatly accelerated. It is reasonable to presume that virtually any visual
disturbance will improve if fresh wild or commercial berries are regularly
Top Blueberry Tips
- When buying blueberries be sure to look for bruising or mold.
Blueberries are “out of season” for the vast majority of the year. Hence,
in order to make them available all year they are stored for prolonged
periods. Do not buy blueberries that appear wilted, and return them if they
are moldy. Be sure to eat them soon after purchasing, because they spoil
readily.It is interesting to note that wild blueberries are highly resistant to
spoiling. Once I kept a bowl of wild blueberries refrigerated for over
three months, and they were still unspoiled and edible.
- Add blueberries to hot cereal; use them in place of sweeteners. They
not only taste luscious but enliven the appearance of the cereal. Oat bran,
Red River, and Triple Bran are three excellent high fiber-low starch
cereals which taste wonderful with blueberries. Add Nutri-Sense to the
cereal to enhance the B vitamin content (see the section on rice bran).
- When making the batter for muffins, pancakes, or waffles, always add
blueberries. Baking enhances the digestibility of blueberries, liberating
the anthocyanosides. Furthermore, it is healthier to rely on the natural
sweetness of blueberries and reduce the amount of sweetener used in
- The traditional recipe of blueberries and cream is a nutritionally sound
dessert. This is because the fat in cream helps liberate certain nutrients in
the blueberries that are fat loving. These nutrients include beta carotene,
anthocyanosides, and bioflavonoids. Have you ever noticed how cream
turns blue when it is added to the berries, whereas if you add only water,
liberating the fat-soluble nutrients from the berries.
- Don’t overdo it with blueberries. Have them as an occasional treat, and
use them in baked goods, while reducing the amount of added sweetener.
Blueberries contain a fair amount of natural sugar, and cooking increases
the sugar content. It is possible to overdo it on sweet fruits, especially if
you are sensitive to sugar; and who isn’t? However, with wild blueberries
picked right off the bush you can eat as much as you desire.
- If you are eating blueberries to improve vision, be sure to add vitamin
A, riboflavin, and zinc. This nutritional foursome aids in reversing
practically every conceivable eye condition, including night blindness,
nearsightedness, farsightedness, uveitis, iritis, and macular degeneration.
Nutritional supplements may be of value; for vitamin A, use cod liver or
halibut liver oil, and for zinc, use chelated zinc. Foods rich in vitamin A
include organic liver, butter, eggs, and fatty fish. Foods rich in zinc
include fresh meats, organ meats, eggs, crab, oysters, peanut butter, and
tahini.It is important to realize that the absorption and utilization of
synthetic riboflavin is questionable. Food sources are organ meats, eggs,
cheese, and fresh whole milk. Remember that riboflavin is easily
destroyed by light, making it perhaps one of the most difficult of all
vitamins to sufficiently ingest.
- Blueberries are a preferred fruit for individuals suffering from diabetes or
individuals with blood sugar disturbances. This is because they are lower in
sugar than the more commonly consumed fruits such as apples, oranges,
cherries, pineapple, and grapes. However, if the blood sugar is completely
out of control, as occurs in severe diabetes, don’t eat blueberries or any
other type of fruit. Eat instead sweet tasting vegetables such as red bell
peppers, yellow bell peppers, fennel, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce or low
sugar fruit such as grapefruit and melons. Despite their sweet taste these
fruits and vegetables are relatively low in sugar and may be well tolerated
by diabetics and hypoglycemics. Yet, raw, wild blueberries are assuredly the
best type for diabetics. Wild blueberries contain substances which are
beneficial in the treatment of diabetes, and they are lower in sugar and
richer in trace minerals than cultivated berries. They are particularly
curative for hypoglycemia.
Check out the Health Hunter Blueberry Kit we have on sale in honor of this post!
Click on the image to go to the product page