Boost the Benefits of Blueberries

Medically reviewed in March 2019

Get more nutrition from your blueberries by tossing them into a steamy bowl of oatmeal instead of cold cereal and milk.

Why? Because a study revealed that combining blueberries and milk in the same meal could block your body's absorption of the antioxidant goodness in the berries.

The ABCs of Antioxidant Absorption
Blueberries are packed with powerful phenolic antioxidants that help keep you young by combating oxidative stress. Problem is, these superchemicals don't always make it from your mouth to your bloodstream; you probably absorb less than 5 percent of the phenolics you get from foods. And certain food combos don't help. When researchers had volunteers eat blueberries with a chaser of water or milk, the blueberry-and-milk combo resulted in significantly fewer phenolics being absorbed compared with the berries-and-water combo. (Find out how blueberry polyphenols help your brain.)

When Milk Doesn't Do You Good
Researchers believe that the proteins in milk somehow interfere with antioxidant absorption. And other milk research has already shown similar results with tea and chocolate phenolics. So what to do? Skim milk in your cereal may be an option. Although skim milk still interfered with phenolic absorption in the blueberry study, it interfered less than whole milk. You could also wait a couple of hours between eating blueberries and having milk. Ready for a milk-free blueberry fest?

Is there a more nutritious fruit than blueberries? Read what a study had to say.

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