Blueberries grow wild in the forests of the United States and Canada, but are also available in fresh and frozen versions in most supermarkets and health food markets. This fruit is rich in antioxidants, which help protect your body from cellular damage that can lead to disease.
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Fresh blueberries are in season during spring and summer months, but you can enjoy this berry year round when you choose a frozen variety. Compare the nutrition information between fresh and frozen blueberries to help determine which ones have a place in your healthy eating plan. Keep in mind that if you eat frozen blueberries within three months of freezing, you may get an extra antioxidant boost.
Fiber and Protein
Blueberries, whether fresh or frozen, are a low-calorie and nutrient-dense source of dietary fiber. The average diet does not include adequate amounts of fiber; adding a daily serving of blueberries can help you increase your intake. Fiber benefits your digestive health and may also help prevent certain chronic health conditions, such as cancer.
A 1-cup serving of fresh blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber, while and a 1 cup serving of frozen blueberries has 4.2 grams of fiber. The same servings also provide small amounts of energy-supplying protein. Fresh blueberries contain 1.10 gram per 1 cup serving, while same portion of frozen blueberries has 0.65 grams.
Read more: Why is Fiber Important in Your Daily Diet?
Fresh blueberries contain naturally occurring sugars that have an important place in your healthy eating plan. Certain brands of frozen blueberries are sweetened with added sugar, which increases their calorie counts and decreases their nutritional values.
One cup of fresh blueberries contains 14.74 grams of natural sugars. One cup of unsweetened frozen blueberries has 13.1 grams of natural sugars, but 1 cup of sweetened blueberries contains 45.36 grams of sugar, most of it in the form of added sugar.
A cup of fresh or unsweetened frozen blueberries contains about 80 calories, but the sweetened version contains 186 calories because of the added sugar, according to LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate food database.
Both fresh and frozen blueberries are a nutritious way to get certain vitamins in your daily diet. One cup of fresh blueberries supplies you with 14.4 milligrams of the 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C you need on a daily basis.
You also get 80 IU of vitamin A and 28.6 micrograms of vitamin K in fresh berries. Additionally, fresh blueberries contain trace amounts of B vitamins. One cup of frozen blueberries contains less of each of these vitamins, with 3.9 milligrams of vitamin C, 71 IU of vitamin A and 25.4 micrograms of vitamin K.
Fresh blueberries also contain higher concentrations of minerals than frozen blueberries. A 1 cup serving of fresh blueberries contains 0.41 milligrams of iron, 114 milligrams of potassium and 0.24 milligrams of zinc.
One cup of frozen blueberries has 0.28 milligrams of iron, 84 milligrams of potassium and 0.11 milligrams of zinc. However, sweetened frozen blueberries contain 0.90 milligrams of iron and 138 milligrams of potassium, which is more than the amounts in fresh blueberries.
Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidants capacities of any fruit. Antioxidants fight inflammation by combating free radicals, compounds that occur with aging and that are found in pollution, processed foods, pesticides and plastics. Free radicals cause damage to your cells that make you look older and cause disease.
A study in a 2015 issue of the International Journal of Molecular Science reported that the antioxidant value of blueberries actually increases with freezing and stays high for three months. Longer storage results in a decrease in antioxidant content.
Read more: What are Some Examples of Antioxidants?
More About MyPlate
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