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Food Is Fuel: What Mike Eats - Protein Shakes #7

Who doesn't love those delicious, bluish, purple-hued berries known as blueberries? They are typically praised for there natural sweetness and flavor. But did you know, blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries on the planet? It turns out that maybe these berries should be thought of as more of a superfood than a sweet treat. No wonder Organic Muscle Athlete Mike Kneuer has incorporated these bold berries into his protein shakes featuring our Organic Plant Protein!

Blueberries can be found on the blueberry bush or Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus, which is a flowering bush that produces these bodacious berries. This is very similar to other berry boasting bushes, like those that produce cranberries and huckleberries. The blueberries are small in size, around 0.2–0.6 inches (5–16 millimeters) in diameter, featuring a flared crown on the end.

 

When the berries first appear they are green in color and begin to turn into a deep blue or purple as they ripen. The two most common types of these berries are the "Highbush Berries," which are the most cultivated in the United States and "Lowbush" or "Wild Blueberries" that are typically smaller in size and richer in certain antioxidants. Either way, blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense berries on the planet.

One cup or 148 grams of blueberries contain 84 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of Fiber, 24% RDI of Vitamin C, 36% RDI of Vitamin K, 25% RDI of Manganese, and small amounts of various other nutrients. Making these berries an excellent source of several important nutrients including antioxidants. So many antioxidants that blueberries are believed to be one of the highest antioxidant containing fruits or vegetables. 

This makes blueberries an incredibly important food because antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases, such as cancer. The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids. One group of flavonoids in particular called anthocyanins are thought to be responsible for much of the berries beneficial health effects.

Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they can neutralize some of the free radicals that damage your DNA. This is a process that is part of the reason we grow older. It also plays an important role in the development of diseases like cancer. A process that is unavoidable and takes place tens of thousands of times per day in every cell in your body. In one study, 168 people drank 34 ounces of a mixed blueberry and apple juice daily. After four weeks, oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals was reduced by 20% because of the awesome power of antioxidants.

So, that has to be enough health reasons to add blueberries to your diet. Here are a few flavored filled reasons in the form of some protein shake recipes from Organic Muscle Athlete Mike Kneuer! Not only will these recipes be a treat to your taste buds, but the health benefits of the blueberries will be a treat to your body.

We will start things out with this incredible "Blueberry Kiwi Protein Shake." First, you will need a Nutibullet cup with 1/4 of a cup of almond or cashew milk. Now you will add in two scoops of Organic Muscle Vanilla Protein Powder, 1/2 cup of blueberries, one kiwi, two mint leaves, and three tablespoons of hemp seeds. Mike then adds a 1/2-1 cup of ice as his personal preference and then blends it all until it is smooth in the Nutribullet.

Not only does this shake provide the health benefits of the blueberries and protein from the Organic Muscle Protein Powder, but it provides many other benefits from the added hemp seeds. Hemp is naturally high in the essential omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Some studies suggest that people who do not get enough essential fatty acids — especially GLA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — are more likely to have bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids. In a study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took GLA and EPA supplements had less bone loss over three years than those who took a placebo. Many of the women studied also experienced an increase in bone density.

Next up is this "Blueberry Coconut Protein Shake" from Mike. Once again you will need a Nutribullet cup. This time with one can of coconut milk and two scoops of Organic Muscle Vanilla Protein. Now you will add in 1/2 a cup of frozen blueberries, one tablespoon of maple syrup, and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mike now adds in his 1/2-1 cup of ice as his personal preference and blends everything together in the Nutribullet until smooth.

This shake also packs some hidden benefits from the added coconut milk. Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, which are the fruit of the coconut tree. This milk is thick in consistency and has a thick creamy texture. Unlike coconut water, the milk does not occur naturally. Instead, the solid coconut flesh is mixed with water to make coconut milk, which is about 50% water. Coconut milk is a high-calorie food, with about 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Evidence suggests that the MCT's found in coconut milk may benefit weight loss, body composition, and metabolism. So take some advice from Mike and use these beneficial berries in your recipes like these power-packed protein shakes! 

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