All types of berries are packed full of nutrition, but blueberries are my pick of the bunch for their powerful anti-ageing properties. They’re just like nature’s candy, in a nutritionally perfect package.
You see, blueberries are a rich source of flavonoids, which are a group of antioxidant compounds found primarily in plants. Science has discovered over five thousand kinds of flavonoids, often with hundreds of different types present in one item of food, and each with different properties, which often contribute to the foods bright colour.
They prevent inflammation throughout your body, enhance the power of vitamin C in foods and prevent blood vessels from rupturing. Vitamin C is important for supporting immune system health, but it’s also a crucial nutrient for helping to produce the collagen in your skin which keeps it looking plump and youthful.
Picking up colds and infections regularly could be a sign that you need to eat more flavonoid foods.
In terms of your skin’s health and beauty, flavonoids are delivered via your bloodstream to your skin, where they have the ability to protect your cells from oxidative damage, absorb ultraviolet light and protect your skin from sun damage.
But what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are a type of molecule that have the ability to inhibit the oxidation of another molecule. Antioxidants basically mop up the free radicals circulating your system, helping to lessen the cellular damage that they can cause. They donate their own electrons and are nature’s very own defence mechanism against attack.
Free radicals are a normal compound produced in your body from regular metabolic reactions, and are a natural response to external factors including cigarette smoke, environmental pollution, sunlight and chemicals, plus inflammation within the body. Even rigorous exercise triggers free radical production, which is why I recommend eating blueberries post-workout as they’re so high in antioxidants!
Dietary antioxidants are incredibly important for your health, and are even being acknowledged by Western medicine as playing a crucial role. Some are made in your body, but many are not, and production begins to decline with advancing age.
They may significantly slow down the speed at which you age, meaning that a regular supply in your diet is of optimal importance for your skin’s health.
I love this recipe for creamy coconut porridge with blueberry chia jam and blueberry-vanilla whip, because it’s simple to make and a great way to enjoy blueberries in a different way! The jam looks and tastes like the real thing, but it takes a few minutes to make and doesn’t contain loads of refined sugar. The blueberry-vanilla while makes it taste extra indulgent, and is ideal for anybody who loves cream on porridge.
Here’s a little secret… I used to looove loads of brown sugar and whipped cream on my porridge when I was a kid 🙂 This is definitely a better alternative!
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 125g fresh/frozen blueberries
- 2 tbsp whole chia seeds
- 1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge, or 1 carton of plain coconut milk yoghurt (Use full-fat coconut milk for a creamier texture)
- 2 handfuls fresh blueberries
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds
- Extra fresh blueberries, to serve
- 80g porridge oats
- 500ml (2 cups) water to cook
- 125ml (1/5 cup) Koko Coconut Milk
- In a small saucepan over a medium heat, heat up the maple syrup and add in the blueberries. Cook them until soft, stirring consistently.
- Remove them from the heat and stir in the chia seeds until well distributed. Leave aside to soak up the remainder of the liquid and thicken up into a jam consistency.
- Carefully open the can of coconut milk without shaking it as the cream should have separated from the water. Spoon out the coconut cream and place it into a blender with the blueberries and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Place the water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Add the oats, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, until it becomes thick porridge.
- Divide the porridge into two bowls and drizzle with Koko Coconut Milk, top with blueberry chia jam, a dollop of blueberry-vanilla whip and some fresh blueberries.
- Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.