Wesley Resident Blueberry picking showing bucket

Blueberries: The Superfood with a Super Wesley History

Blueberries are a summertime superfood favorite that also pack a powerful nutritional punch. But did you know that blueberries also played an important part in Wesley’s history?

Back in 1946, Rev. Stanley Logan began the search for land in Des Moines to build a Methodist retirement home. In time, he found the perfect location for what would become Wesley Gardens. It had a sweeping view, good transportation to Seattle, and was the site of a blueberry farm!

group of Wesley residents smiling with buckets of blueberries on blueberry farm

When construction began, the berries were transported slightly north to make room for the first Wesley Cottage. But for decades, Wesley Des Moines residents enjoyed annual outings to pick pounds and pounds of these luscious, local blueberries. In summer, the blueberries were added to the Wesley dining menu, made into jams, and baked into pies by residents. The blueberry pies not only tasted good, but they did good. Over the years, Wesley-baked pies won local baking contests, and the prize money was donated to help fund the Circle of Concern.

In a very real way, blueberries provided the foundation upon which Wesley communities were built and supported. And we now know that blueberries also provide the basis for better health and well-being.

5 Reasons blueberries are great for you

Blueberries—both fresh and frozen—are a superfood that is high in nutrition but low in calories. They naturally contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and fiber that both feed our bodies and promote good health.

1.) Blueberries are nutritious

Blueberries are an incredibly nutrient-dense fruit, packed with important vitamins and minerals. One cup of blueberries contains our daily nutritional allowance of:

  • Fiber: 14%
  • Vitamin C: 16%
  • Vitamin K: 24%
  • Manganese: 22%

All for only 84 calories!

2.) Blueberries are packed with antioxidants

Blueberries are also known to contain high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals which are caused by stress, pollution, and alcohol. Over time, free radicals cause cell damage that leads to aging and disease. So the more antioxidants we consume, the better for our health. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the popular fruits and vegetables.

3.) Blueberries improve memory

Flavonoids are another antioxidant in blueberries that have been shown to improve cell signaling and brain function. A 6-year study found that older people who ate flavonoid-packed blueberries and strawberries were able to delay mental decline and aging by 2.5 years.

4.) Blueberries can lower blood pressure

Blueberries have also been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. One 8-week study noted a 4%-6% reduction in blood pressure among an obese population who ate blueberries. Another study found that blueberries help the body produce nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels.

5.) Blueberries reduce DNA damage

Aging, diseases, and cognitive impairment are caused in part by damage to our cells and our DNA. Consuming blueberries and/or blueberry juice reduces DNA damage by an astounding 20%.

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