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July is National Blueberry Month

We have waited an entire 11 months for this special time of year. July is blueberry season!

There is nothing quite like bringing home fresh berries in the summer. Maybe that is why someone felt blueberries needed their own month to celebrate.

There are plenty of reasons why blueberries are a great choice to include in your diet now and throughout the rest of the year.

In addition to their great taste, blueberries are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins.

In the last five years, there have been a few interesting studies to further support the health benefits of blueberries. In one study, evidence shows a diet rich in blueberries can improve memory. After 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption, older adults showed improvement on two different tests of cognitive function, including memory. The authors of this study suggest the results indicate blueberries could be beneficial not only for improvement of memory, but for slowing or postponing the onset of other cognitive problems that occur with aging.

A second study found including blueberries as a part of a daily low-glycemic diet has a favorable impact on the blood sugar regulation in people with Type 2 diabetes. And by adding physical activity, over a three-month period these people saw significant improvements in their A1C levels.

If taste alone weren’t enough, blueberries truly are a “super food!”

In celebrating National Blueberry Month, we served the Plate it Up/KY Proud Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound cake at our booth during the Winchester-Clark County Farmers’ Market Saturday. In case you missed it, here’s the recipe.

Blueberry Cream Cheese

Pound Cake

— 1 (8 ounce) package fat free cream cheese

— 1/2 cup canola oil

— 1 (18 ounce) package yellow butter cake mix

— 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

— 2 large egg whites

— 2 large eggs

— 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

— 2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a tube pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. Combine cream cheese and oil in a medium bowl; beat with mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy. Add cake mix, pudding mix, egg whites, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until blended. Fold in berries. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Yield: 16 slices. Nutritional Analysis: 200 calories, 10 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 390 mg sodium; 38 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 23 g sugar; 4 g protein.

Be sure to visit our website at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/clark/ for more blueberry recipes or contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682.

Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension Agent for family and consumer sciences.