Wild Blueberry Brain Boosting Smoothie

Thank you to the Wild Blueberry Association for hosting my trip to Maine

As a senior in high school, my daughter Rosie is facing the ups and downs of preparing for and applying to college. She’s a good student, an athlete, has heaps of extracurriculars, and as my sole extrovert, will likely slay the college interviews. But when it comes to filling out the tiny bubbles of a standardized test with a number 2 pencil? Not her strong suit.

As a parent, it’s only natural to want to give my child every advantage. But barring taking the test for her — which would yield no advantage given my test-taking track record, never mind the ethics — there’s not much I can do.

But last Saturday, before she headed off to sit for the ACT, I did perform one small act that may…just may…make a difference.

I made her a smoothie.

Not just any smoothie. A 16-ounce wild blueberry smoothie that I insisted she down before heading for the test.

Here’s why:

Wild blueberries are good for the brain. They’re loaded with antioxidants, thanks in part to their high skin to fruit ratio. The flavonoids in wild blueberries have an anti-inflammatory effect and promote healthy brain function. Of particular interest to me as a parent, though, is recent research on the potential benefits of these berries on cognitive function in children. One study found kids who consumed wild blueberries had improved memory and concentration relative to those taking a placebo.  A later trial found drinking a wild blueberry beverage had a significant positive impact on children’s moods.

Whoa!

two glasses of wild blueberry smoothie with straws

I learned all this on a trip to the wild blueberry barrens of Maine, one of only a few places in the world where this rare fruit thrives. I was in the company of  scientists and academics who study this stuff for a living. And while we have much more to learn about how these hearty little berries impact children’s brains, I saw no harm in loading up my daughter with them before her exam.

Below you’ll find the recipe. It’s got a full cup of wild blueberries along with cashews, which you can soak overnight milk for extra creaminess. The cashews lend richness o thet smoothie, along with the protein and healthy fats that come along for the ride. Because I don’t live in wild blueberry country, I buy mine frozen, which hold up brilliantly from a nutrition standpoint and are pretty widely available in the frozen food section of markets. I also threw a wild card into my mix: frozen cauliflower. I find it goes under the radar while delivering a small serving of vegetables in every glass.

Rosie won’t get her test results back for a while yet, but if things go well, wild blueberries and I are planning to take just a weansy bit of the credit.

two glasses of wild blueberry smoothie with straws
5 from 7 votes
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Wild Blueberry Brain Boosting Smoothie

A purple powerhouse of a smoothie packed with antioxidants thanks to all those wild blueberries. For extra creaminess, soak the cashews in the milk overnight in the fridge and peel and freeze the banana overnight. Feel free to add other nourishing "extras", such as hemp seeds, psyllium husks, or chia seeds.

Course Breakfast, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 16-ounce or two 8-ounce
Calories 200 kcal
Author Katie Morford

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk, low fat cow's milk or favorite plant milk
  • ¼ cup raw cashews or other favorite nuts (see notes)
  • 1/2 ripe banana (see notes)
  • 1 cup wild blueberries (sold in the frozen fruit section of many markets)
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cauliflower florets (or 1 loosely packed cup baby spinach)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ice cubes
  • Optional add-ins: 1 tablespoon any of the following: hemp seeds, psyllium husks, flaxmeal, or chia seeds)

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender.  Blend until the cashews are pulverized and the smoothie is creamy. 

Recipe Notes

Notes: If you want to your smoothie extra thick and creamy, soak the nuts in the milk overnight (store in the fridge) and peel and freeze the banana.

Comments

09.20.2017 at7:29 AM #

Pamela Prime

Great story– love that sweet gal! Your recipes are always so creative–cauliflower, amazing!💚

09.20.2017 at7:29 AM #

Katie Morford

Thank you 🙂

09.20.2017 at9:20 AM #

Sophie Ziegler

This is such a creative recipe! One question – are wild blueberries different from the blueberries that are readily available at the market?

09.20.2017 at9:20 AM #

Katie Morford

Yes! I should probably add that to the post. They’re in the frozen section. They are especially concentrated in flavonoids. A lot of markets sell them. Definitely sprouts and trader joe’s.

09.20.2017 at10:17 AM #

Catherine McCord

LOVE this one! YUM!!

09.20.2017 at10:17 AM #

Katie Morford

Preaching to the smoothie-loving choir 🙂

09.21.2017 at1:05 PM #

EA The Spicy RD

I love this post Katie, especially because Rosie sounds just like my daughter-the social butterfly 🙂 She’s a junior, so we’re just starting to navigate ACT/SAT territory, and I definitely think this smoothie would start her off on the right track. Best of luck to Rosie on her test, and finding the right college!

09.21.2017 at1:05 PM #

Katie Morford

Thanks EA. Social intelligence is highly underrated. I wish there were a standardized test for that 🙂

09.30.2017 at2:30 PM #

Lisa

Thanks so much for this recipe! My son is a little picky on texture so I used cashew butter and it worked really well. I am trying to get extra calories in him so used whole milk – thank you! (and any other thoughts on adding calories/protein/healthy fats to smoothies appreciated!).

09.30.2017 at2:30 PM #

Katie Morford

Adding nut butters is a great way to boost calories. Whole milk (which you are already doing), whole milk Greek yogurt is also a good one. I also like to add avocado, which makes the smoothie nice and creamy. Chia seeds, hemp seeds. You could put a little coconut oil if you want.

04.05.2022 at6:19 PM #

Mary

I have also used chilled coconut milk and wild frozen blueberries to make ice cream!

04.05.2022 at6:19 PM #

Katie Morford

Oooh! That sounds delicious!

09.06.2022 at7:35 AM #

Love

Thanks 💞😎

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