This "powerhouse" tops the list, says Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, WebMD's director of nutrition.
And Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, says, "Blueberries are not only delicious but are also rich in antioxidants." Hark is co-author, with Darwin Deen, MD, of Nutrition for Life: The No-Nonsense, No-Fad Approach to Eating Well and Reaching Your Healthy Weight.
According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, researchers believe that the antioxidants in blueberries work to reduce the buildup of "bad" LDL cholesterol in artery walls that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Studies conducted at the USDA Human Nutrition Center have found that blueberries rank No. 1 in antioxidant activity when compared with 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful byproducts of metabolism called free radicals that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases. Anthocyanin, the antioxidant that is thought to be responsible for this major health benefit, can also be found in blackberries, black raspberries, black currants, and red grapes.
Hark recommends a 1 cup serving of blueberries a day. Fresh, frozen, or dried, they can be added to cereal, muffins, or eaten by themselves.