Blueberries are a "superfood" packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. While they are only in season for a short time, importing them from warmer climates make it possible to eat fresh blueberries year round. You may also freeze blueberries, though doing so decreases the nutritional value. The degree of nutrient degradation, however, is not significant enough to deter you from including them in a healthy meal plan.
Calories and Fat
Frozen blueberries contain slightly fewer calories than raw blueberries – 79 calories versus 84 calories per cup. The Diet Channel suggests limiting your caloric intake for between-meal snacks to 100 to 200 calories, so a cup of fresh or frozen berries will not exceed recommendations. A 1-cup serving of frozen blueberries has 0.9 g of fat compared to the 0.4 g in a cup of raw blueberries, both negligible amounts.
Carbohydrates and Protein
Frozen blueberries lose some nutritional value when it comes to carbohydrates and protein. One cup of frozen blueberries contains 18.8 mg of carbs and 0.6 g of protein, while a 1-cup serving of raw blueberries has 21.4 g of carbohydrates and 1.1 g of protein. You should consume 225 to 325 g of carbohydrates and 50 to 175 g of protein each day – these macronutrients break down in your body for energy. Further, carbohydrates keep your kidney and brains working as they should, and protein promotes muscle growth.
Both frozen blueberries and raw blueberries provide vitamin K, but berries lose a bit of this nutrient when frozen. A 1-cup serving of raw berries has 28.6 micrograms versus the 25.4 micrograms of vitamin K available in a cup of frozen berries. Women require 90 micrograms of this vitamin, while men should consume 120 micrograms. The vitamin K in fresh and frozen blueberries contributes toward bone health and helps your blood clot normally.
Blueberries lose some manganese content when frozen. A cup of fresh blueberries contains 0.5 mg compared to the 0.2 mg in a cup of frozen berries. Men require 2.3 mg of manganese each day; it may have a bearing on sperm quality, according to a study available in the July-August 2009 issue of “Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.” Women require less – 1.8 mg – unless pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need 2 to 2.6 mg daily, respectively. The manganese in raw and frozen blueberries helps you metabolize carbohydrates and fat.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Blueberries, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Blueberries, Frozen, Unsweetened
- The Diet Channel; Calories: What's An Ideal Daily Intake; Michele Turcotte, MS, RD/LDN
- McKinley Health Center; Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat; March 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin K; June 2009