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There’s a reason we call blueberries a “superfruit” — several reasons, in fact. The benefits from eating blueberries include better brain health, healthier aging, reduced cholesterol, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, muscle mass preservation and more.
These many health benefits can be linked to anthocyanins, the highly concentrated form of antioxidants found in blueberries. In tests, anthocyanins are twice as powerful as vitamin C.
Despite the abundance of anthocyanins and other good nutrients in blueberries, only a fraction of these nutrients are absorbed from the blueberries when they are digested. However, researchers have found a tall glass of milk may improve the body’s access to the benefits from eating blueberries…
Have a glass of milk with your blueberries
A recent study shows that alpha-casein, a protein found in cow’s milk, helped rats being fed blueberries absorb more of the anthocyanins and their byproducts from the fruit. These results confirmed simulated digestion experiments that showed alpha-casein and beta-casein, derived from cow’s milk, protected blueberry anthocyanins.
Researchers fed the rats a purified solution of blueberry anthocyanin extracts and added alpha-casein to the solution in one group of rats. Over the next 24 hours, concentrations of anthocyanin and its metabolites were between 1.5 and 10.1 times higher in the alpha-casein group than in the control group.
The team examined alpha-casein’s molecular structure and observed its amino acids allowed it to interact with and enclose the anthocyanin molecules. This provides the anthocyanin molecules with better stability within the intestines and improves their transport into the bloodstream.
Researchers used an alpha-casein protein derived and purified from cow’s milk, but they caution that the results may not be the same for whole milk because the protein’s absorption could be affected by the fats and sugars contained within whole milk.
Going forward, the researchers plan to conduct similar tests with human subjects.
Classic blueberry-dairy pairings
There are many ways you can combine dairy with blueberries, particularly at breakfast. In the morning, many of us like to put blueberries in our oatmeal or cereal, along with a good amount of milk. If you’re having blueberry pancakes, muffins or pastries instead, make sure you serve them up with a nice, cold glass of milk.
You can also mix blueberries and yogurt with granola or muesli for a crunchy, satisfying breakfast parfait. This blueberry breakfast parfait recipe is particularly elegant and flavorful.
If you like having an after-dinner treat, there are several desserts that combine blueberries and dairy. My husband’s favorite pie happens to be blueberry, and he especially loves it when it’s heated and served with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now I can tell him that this combo is healthier as well as enjoyable.
Another delicious blueberry-and-dairy dessert is a blueberry milkshake. But to be honest, my favorite way is also the easiest…
Peak SuperfruitsTM is a delicious berry powder mix that can be mixed with your favorite beverage — including milk. If you have any doubt that berry powder is just as beneficial as the real deal, you should read about how it helped improve cognition and blood sugar in middle-aged adults.
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1. Milk protein could help boost blueberries’ healthfulness — EurekAlert!