July 13, 2012

It’s National what month?

Commentary by Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Certain months have certain holidays, like Christmas in December and St. Patrick’s Day in March. But what you may not know is that each month has several observances that may be a little outside of the norm. In the series “It’s National what month?” we’ve taken some of the more obscure holidays and shown how Airmen can put them to good use.

July is a time for American flags, fireworks and barbecues. But while you and your family are gearing up for the Fourth of July weekend, take some time this month to enjoy one patriotic fruit–the blueberry.

In 1999, then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, declared July to be National Blueberry Month to promote greater appreciation and use of a fruit that is grown in the U.S.

Thirteen years later, the observance is known to some as ‘National July is for Blueberries Month” and we still see that these tiny little fruit are for more than just cobbler.

“Well first off, they’re blue,” said Cindy Davis, D-M Health and Wellness Center registered dietician. “That sounds funny, but one major phytonutrient, poly-phenolicanthocyanin, gives the fruit its beautiful blue color. Blueberries also have good carbohydrates, which help you absorb the protein that assists with building muscle.”

Building muscle is essential for the strength component of the Air Force Fitness test.

“They’re really good in vitamin C, which helps build collagen, which builds connective tissues. These tissues keeps muscles attached to bone and can help prevent injury,” Davis said.

Blueberries can also help with the cardio portion of the test. Eating fruits and vegetables can moderate your weight, and weighing less can help your run time. In addition to weight, they can help with breath control.

“Beta carotene, which is found in the vitamin A in blueberries, promotes healthy cells,” Davis said. “The healthier the cell, the better it breathes. The better it breathes, the easier it is for the person to do more cardio.”

These dynamic berries can assist with more than fitness.

“The antioxidants are cancer fighting, they help with eyesight and studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables will lower your chance of developing diabetes and heart disease.”

So during the month of July, be sure to take advantage of the many nutritional qualities of these dynamic little fruits. After all, July is for blueberries.


Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit

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