Sweet, juicy blueberries may bring to mind sugary treats like pies and muffins. But when you eat blueberries on their own or brew their leaves for tea, these little berries pack a nutritional wallop. In particular, they are rich in polyphenols – powerful antioxidant compounds that hunt down and eliminate molecules called free radicals that may damage healthy cells and lead to diseases such as cancer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tested 24 types of fruits for their free-radical-scavenging potential and found that blueberries had the highest score per serving for antioxidant activity.
Blueberry Tea Infusions
In a study published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food” in 2009, scientists prepared blueberry tea from eight different types of blueberry bush leaves. The researchers used water boiled to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and steeped the tea for periods of up to 30 minutes. The leaves that steeped for a full 30 minutes exhibited the greatest polyphenol content and antioxidant activity, with wild blueberry leaves scoring the highest. The researchers concluded that blueberry leaf tea ranks high on the list of dietary antioxidants. To reap the benefits of this tea, buy premeasured blueberry tea bags or use 1 teaspoon of loose tea for each 8 ounces of boiling water.