Want to snack on dried blueberries, but not sure if you should?
Well, wonder no longer…there are incredible (and tasty!) benefits to be had by incorporating dried blueberries into your diet.
Let’s discuss a few, shall we?
Dried Blueberry Nutrition: What Is It That Makes Them So Healthy?
Although we all love fresh fruit, you can enjoy many of the same benefits when you turn to the dried option.
After all, having fresh fruit on hand all the time may not be practical. When traveling or out of season, dried fruits like blueberries still make for a healthy choice.
Most people know the benefits of fresh blueberries but the good news is that you enjoy the same benefits with the dried fruit option.
Are they still healthy? Of course!
When drying blueberries, you’re simply removing the water content. What remains is a power-packed treat with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and more.
What’s more, if you have unsweetened dried blueberries, then you’re going to get a snack that is low in both fat and calories. This means you can enjoy their naturally sweet taste without feeling guilty for indulging.
Benefits of Eating Dried Blueberries
Although you may enjoy fresh blueberries, there are benefits to enjoying dried ones as well.
In fact, most people can’t believe the health benefits that you can experience just from adding one food to your diet.
Not sure of what including blueberries in your diet can do for you? The effects may be surprising.
1. They Support Strong Bones
When you want to support your bones, then adding blueberries to your diet is a great way to do this.
Bones are made up of a variety of minerals including phosphorus and calcium. Blueberries are a good source of both these essential nutrients.
When you combine a healthy diet rich in these foods with strength training, you’ll be supporting healthy bone structure for life.
2. They’re an Easy Way to Get Your Antioxidants In
Most of us know that antioxidants are important in your diet. These compounds fight free radicals which cause damage and can increase your risk of chronic diseases.
Most fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants, but blueberries are especially high in them.
In fact, some studies suggest that the antioxidants found in blueberries may be the most powerful.
3. They Provide A Lot of Nutrients with Little Calories
Dried blueberries are high on flavor but low in both calories and fat. Just one fourth of a cup contains only 32 calories approximately.
If you choose the unsweetened kind, the calories are low but won’t contain any added sugar or fat.
This is great if you’re trying to be more health conscious but also don’t want to gain weight.
There aren’t many other foods that contain these many nutrients at this calorie level either.
4. They Can Help Slow Signs of Aging
We all know that aging is inevitable but what if you could slow down the process. The compounds in blueberries may help this process naturally, much more easily than expensive products or procedures.
The compounds in blueberries such as anthocyanins, flavonols, and other antioxidants are some of the key fighting ingredients against aging.
Not only do they make this process slow down, they’ll work internally so you have healthy organs over time. Over time, cells themselves age and start to break down.
This process occurs due to oxidative stress but the benefits of blueberries can help to decrease this damage over time. This is a great benefit when you want to maintain your health and vitality as you age.
5. They Support Healthy Cholesterol Levels
There are a number of ways that dried blueberries support heart health. Their fiber content and other nutrients work to improve cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol.
This is why most cardiac physicians recommend that people eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
While other foods also contribute to good heart health, blueberries are one of the best foods for this.
In one study, people ate just two ounces of blueberries a day. They found that their LDL oxidation decreased by 27% in just eight weeks.
Another study looked at a similar amount and LDL-cholesterol levels. found that including blueberries in the diet had a significant effect.
6. They Encourage a Healthy Blood Sugar Response
Although some people who have trouble with their blood sugar don’t think fruit is a great option for them.
Surprisingly, dried blueberries are recommended for anyone who suffers from insulin resistance and diabetes. They work to help regulate blood sugar. This is an opposite view than many people might have and one of the puzzling aspects of this fruit.
However, it may be that the bioactive compounds that are contained in blueberries work to counteract their natural sugar content.
Dried blueberries have a low glycemic index value. This means that it takes a longer period of time for your body to digest and absorb them. Because of this, you’ll have fewer spikes in insulin or blood sugar.
They also contribute to your feeling full so you won’t have as much excess snacking. Finally, the anthocyanins in blueberries have been shown to have beneficial effects for insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
These effects can be seen even with blueberry juice which is a surprising find.
7. They Help Protect Your Heart
Due to their fiber and other nutrient content, dried blueberries are a simple but effective way to contribute to good heart health. The potassium content in the blueberries contributes to low blood pressure and a good resting heart rate.
In one study, people who had a high risk of heart disease just had two ounces of blueberries a day. They found that their blood pressure decreased by up to 6% in eight weeks.
Additionally, the high antioxidant content in blueberries contributes to good heart function over time.
The iron and copper that you also find in blueberries are essential to the production of red blood cells. If you want to support good cardiovascular health over time, then adding blueberries to your diet is one of the simplest changes you can make.
8. They Encourage Healthy Brain Function
We all want to maintain good cognitive function over time, especially as we age. You get better brain function if dried blueberries are a regular part of your diet.
In fact, studies have even shown that people who eat dried blueberries are less likely to develop certain neuro conditions.
The flavonoids found in this fruit have been linked with improving cognitive functions such as memory and learning in some studies.
The reason for this is that these compounds appear to benefit the aging neuron cells in the brain. They may help to increase cell signaling which helps to prevent cognitive decline that is common with older age.
So, if you want to give your brain a natural boost and haven’t had much luck with other options, why not change your diet? You might be surprised to find out how much this affects you.
How Many Dried Blueberries Should You Eat Per Day?
As you probably know, getting the health benefits of any food group involve including a certain amount in your diet.
You probably could guess that only eating one blueberry a day won’t have much of a benefit. So how many exactly should you have to make a difference?
Surprisingly enough, this has been studied! One study found that eating 1 cup of fresh blueberries which is 1/4 of dried is enough to reduce your risk of heart disease.
However, some may have the opposite problem.
After all, while dried blueberries are healthy, that doesn’t mean that they should take up your entire diet.
They do contain some sugar content naturally and should be enjoyed in moderation. If you’re looking for a reasonable guideline to follow, then you may want to stick with 1/4-1/2 cup dried blueberries daily for the best results.
Are Freeze Dried Blueberries Healthy?
You’ve probably seen freeze dried blueberries. They have a great crunch that makes them a popular food for people to enjoy. However, when it comes to their nutrition content, how do they stack up?
Well, there was one study that looked at the nutrient content in freeze dried versus fresh berries. They looked primarily at the antioxidant activity of the berries.
The good news for people is that, when comparing the two, there was no significant difference between antioxidant activity.
What this means for the average person is that you can enjoy freeze dried blueberries and still enjoy the benefits from eating them.
Same goes for frozen blueberries, too. You can even dehydrate them straight from the freezer!
Dried Blueberries vs Fresh: Is There Any Difference in Benefit and Nutritional Content?
Keep in mind that you might not always have the option to have fresh blueberries on hand. When they’re out of season, dried may be the only option available.
But there are some differences in the nutrition content of the two forms.
One study compared dried and fresh blueberries to determine exactly what differences to expect. The good news is that when it came to the antioxidant content, there was no difference between the two.
For anyone who is trying to include more antioxidants in their diet, you can safely enjoy the dried version without feeling like you’re making a second-rate choice.
The real difference between the two forms of the berries is the sugar content.
When the berries are dried, the water is removed which concentrates the sugar content of the berries and raises the caloric content by weight.
After all, a cup of fresh blueberries dries to about 1/4 cup. This means that a cup of fresh blueberries will contain about 85 calories and 14 grams of sugar. In contrast, a half cup of dried blueberries will contain about 270 calories and about 25 grams of sugar.
This just means you should probably enjoy dried blueberries in smaller amounts than their fresh counterparts. Like maybe for garnishing yogurt or granola!
How Do You Eat Dried Blueberries? Ways to Enjoy!
Dried blueberries make great additions to a number of foods. You can enjoy them with salads for a burst of flavor or even blend them with salad dressings to enjoy their concentrated flavor.
They also make great toppings for oatmeal and breakfast cereals in general. And you can use them to make blueberry muffin mix in a jar type recipes.
If you make your own trail mixes, adding dried blueberries gives you some unexpected flavor and is often better accepted than raisins in trail mix.
Additionally, you should also keep in mind that you can rehydrate dried blueberries. While they make great additions to recipes, they can be easily rehydrated if you want to use them with this option.
Blueberries rehydrate in water or you can use juice or any type of liquid to return them to their plump state. Or you can grind the dehydrated berries to make blueberry powder!
This can be a good option when making blueberry breads, cakes and other baked goods without having to look for fresh blueberries.
>>> Here’s a list of my favorite dried blueberry recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do blueberries have a lot of sugar in them?
Blueberries contain some natural sugar but are not very high in sugar unless you eat a large serving. One half of a cup of dried blueberries contains 25 grams of sugar.
Do blueberries have a laxative effect?
Not exactly. Blueberries are a rich source of fiber so they will aid in digestive function. However, unless you eat a significant amount of them, you should not expect them to have a laxative effect.
I’m a foodie that’s slightly obsessed with drying fruits, veggies, beans, and more – especially from my own garden! It started as a hobby but became a “must” when my family fell on hard times, and my dried food stash sustained us. Now I’m always experimenting with different techniques and recipes and sharing them here!