Lovin’ Those Summertime Blues – Mighty Blueberries Rock!


When it comes to a small but mighty summer fruit, it’s hard to beat blueberries. Is there anything more simple and delicious? You can eat them plain by the handful or add them into smoothies, yogurt, whole grain cereals, pancakes, desserts, you name it. Growing up in the Philippines, we had blueberries, but they were a rare treat, so I appreciate the abundance of fresh berries available here in California.

Native to North America and now cultivated widely in Chile and New Zealand as well, blueberries are an undisputed ‘superfood.’ They are high on any list of foods that do so much for your health in body and mind!

What can these little blue guys do? They are:

BlueberryBrain Food – Compounds in blueberries called polyphenols help maintain signals between neurons in the brain. Maintaining those signals helps with memory, especially as we age. Animal studies have shown that daily consumption of blueberries can slow impairments in coordination and motor function associated with aging.

Antioxidant Rich – Compounds like anthocyanin, a flavonoid that is responsible for giving foods like blueberries, cranberries, red cabbage their deep hues, are plentiful in blueberries. By now you’ve probably heard that these are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to many killer diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

Maintain Healthy Bones — Blueberries contain good amounts of iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K, which all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Adequate vitamin K intake improves calcium absorption and may reduce calcium loss.

Lower Blood Pressure – Maintaining a low sodium diet goes a long way to lowering blood pressure. Blueberries contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Boost Cardiac Health — According to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, regular consumption of anthocyanins, which are plentiful in blueberries, can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32% in young and middle-aged women. Blueberries’ fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient content, all support heart health. Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine, which can damage blood vessels.

Help Prevent Cancer — Vitamin C, vitamin A, and various phytonutrients in blueberries are powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against free radical damage. This inhibits tumor growth, decreases inflammation and helps ward off or slow several types of cancer, including esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate, and colon.

Fight Wrinkles — Just one cup of blueberries provides 24% of your daily need for vitamin C. Collagen, the skin’s support system, relies on vitamin C to help prevent and repair damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke. Vitamin C also promotes collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.

Aside from their superfood status, blueberries are delicious and versatile. This mouth-watering Blueberry Upside-Down Cake recipe is from my new book, The Age Beautifully Cookbook. I’ve used blueberries in this version, but you can also use any seasonal summer fruit including plums, pears, apples, peaches, mangoes, and cherries. You can also use all-purpose flour instead of gluten-free. This cake can be served warm or cool.

Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

Upsidedown cake 2Serves 1012


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup light-brown sugar
2 cups fresh blueberries or other seasonal fruit
1 cup gluten-free or regular baking flour
½ cup almond flour
½ cup coconut flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt or salt substitute
1½ cups Xylitol or sugar
1 cup cubed and slightly softened unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs (organic, free-range, or Omega-3-enriched), separated
¾ cup plain yogurt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the topping: In a saucepan or 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, stir, and cook for 2–3 minutes or until well mixed.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch round cake pan (or leave in skillet if oven-proof) and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Lay the fresh fruit over the mixture evenly and set the pan aside.
  5. Make the cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the xylitol or sugar and butter until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Slowly fold in the yogurt.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly over the fruit in the pan and bake on the middle oven rack at 350 degrees for 40–45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 10–15 minutes. Run a knife along the inside the edge of the cake pan while it is still warm to loosen it.
  8. Cover the cake pan with a plate or large tray and turn it upside-down to invert the cake onto the plate.

Chef’s Note: If you’re using another type of fruit, be sure to peel, slice, and de-seed it if needed. The slices should be about ¼-inch thick.


MB  -Mind– Improves mood, memory and focus

beauty -Beauty– Promotes vibrant skin and hair and keeps eyes healthy.

A real show-stopper recipe from my first cookbook, The Age Gracefully Cookbook, is Almond-Blueberry Gelatin Parfait. The flavors and colors of the almond and blueberry gelatins play off each other beautifully in this dessert. The almond milk in this recipe is also an excellent source of antioxidants.

Almond-Blueberry Gelatin Parfait


Serves 6


2 cups blueberry juice
2 envelopes (1 oz. each) unflavored gelatin
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ cup chopped fresh blueberries
2 cups almond milk
2 envelopes (1 oz. each) unflavored gelatin
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
Fresh blueberries as garnish


  1. To make the blueberry gelatin, combine the blueberry juice and the gelatin in a double boiler and cook over medium-high heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
    2. Add the sugar, the lemon zest, and the chopped blueberries and mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Cool at room temperature.
    3. Pour or ladle the blueberry gelatin mixture into 6 parfait glasses. Chill for 1–2 hours.
    4. To make the almond gelatin, combine the almond milk and the gelatin in a double boiler and cook over medium-high heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
    5. Add the sugar and the almond extract and mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Cool at room temperature.
    6. To assemble, pour or ladle the almond gelatin over the chilled blueberry gelatin parfaits. Return parfait glasses to the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh blueberries.

Ai -Anti-inflammatory
– Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels helping to slow aging and lower the risk of long-term disease.

Ao – Antioxidant – Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

F – Disease prevention– Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.

IB– Immunity booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response.

MB – Mind– Improves mood, memory and focus.

beauty – Beauty– promotes vibrantskin and hair and helps keep eyes healthy.

About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that. foodtrients.com
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.