Bilberry benefits for eye, skin, and more:
Bilberry has been used as a medicinal herb in Europe and China since the 14th century. It has long been used to soothe wounds, treats urinary tract infections, and enhance circulation. But bilberry benefits may even go beyond those traditionally recognized.
In fact, the powerful antioxidant properties found in bilberry may even help improve vision in people who suffer from macular degeneration, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Let’s take a closer look at the various bilberry health benefits.
What is bilberry?
Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are blue-black berries from shrubs that grow in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Sometimes referred to as blaeberries or whortleberries, bilberry is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
It comes from the same family as blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry, and it’s often referred to as European blueberry because of its many similarities to popular American blueberries.
However, bilberry is even more effective than its American counterparts when it comes to promoting good health and fighting disease due to its higher concentration of anthocyanins.
Health benefits of bilberry:
If you’re wondering what the health benefits of bilberry are, this article can help you better understand the blueberry-like fruit and how it can benefit your health.
1. They are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are unique compounds that protect your body from damaging chemicals called free radicals. These molecules can cause oxidative stress and damage DNA, leading to chronic diseases like cancer.
One way antioxidants can fight these free radicals is by grabbing them before they can do harm; other antioxidants are made in response to oxidative stress and help reduce inflammation that leads to chronic disease.
Because bilberries contain high amounts of antioxidants, they may be beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, such as vision problems, diabetes, and heart disease.
2. Fight inflammation
Research suggests that bilberries may help alleviate inflammation, making them helpful in treating conditions like asthma and gout. Bilberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, natural compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
More research is needed to confirm these benefits, but in the meantime, you can benefit from bilberry’s anti-inflammatory properties by incorporating them into your diet regularly.
Bilberries are packed with powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit enzymes that facilitate inflammation. Inhibiting these enzymes effectively lowers inflammation and protects against several inflammatory diseases and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.
Additionally, bilberries are a rich source of anthocyanin, a natural compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This has been further linked to reduced oxidative stress and prevents chronic inflammation.
One study found that consuming 300 mg of anthocyanin supplement daily reduced inflammatory markers by 38-60 percent compared to the placebo group.
3. Promotes eye health
It’s only natural to want healthy, strong eyes—and bilberries can help. The anthocyanins in bilberries are excellent for your ocular health, and scientists believe that they may even slow down macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness).
Long-term use of bilberry has also been shown to prevent and even treat cataracts. Although not all studies show that bilberries can actually treat existing cataracts, they are an excellent preventative to avoid developing cataracts as you get older.
In addition, bilberry can reduce dryness of the eyes and improve general eye health.
4. Promotes skin health
This small, dark-blue berry has potent antioxidant properties that help protect your body from free radicals that break down healthy cells in your body. The anthocyanin antioxidants in bilberries prevent new wrinkles from forming and even help existing wrinkles fade away.
5. Controls blood sugar levels
One of the bilberry’s most impressive powers is its ability to improve blood sugar levels. This fruit can slow down digestion, which helps prevent spikes in blood sugar during and after meals. It also helps your body produce insulin more efficiently, making it easier for your cells to access energy from sugar.
One study found that daily consumption of bilberry extract can lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes more than those who don’t consume the extract.
Another study found that regular consumption of bilberry increased insulin secretion in individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose from the blood into the cells.
6. Lowers cholesterol
Research shows that bilberry has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Its anthocyanin compounds may reduce cholesterol levels by preventing its reabsorption into the body. This slows LDL deposition within the blood vessels which with time leads to plaque formation and atherosclerosis.
7. Improves memory
The antioxidant compounds in bilberries may have a positive effect on memory. In one animal study, rats fed with bilberries could recall an object or a location better than those who did not receive bilberries as part of their diet.
Another study found that bilberry supplements may improve long-term and working memory in older people.
In addition, studies suggest that consuming berries may help protect against age-related declines in cognitive function and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Promotes weight loss
Bilberries are high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to have prebiotic effects. This means that it feeds good bacteria in your digestive tract, helping you maintain healthy intestinal flora.
Research suggests that overweight and obese individuals tend to have lower levels of beneficial gut bacteria than their normal-weight counterparts, so bolstering these levels with pectin from foods like bilberries could help facilitate better weight loss.
In addition, bilberries have been shown to increase fat metabolism by up to 60%. That means you burn more calories throughout the day—helping you lose weight.
9. Prevents bacterial infections
The anthocyanins in bilberries have been found to help prevent bacterial infections and stomach ulcers. A study conducted at Stockholm University found that bilberry compounds suppressed the growth and activity of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers. It’s also believed that anthocyanins may help fight other harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
10. Reduce arthritis pain
While more studies are needed to confirm bilberry’s effectiveness in treating arthritis, it’s thought that anthocyanin, the flavonoid in bilberries helps reduce joint pain by strengthening connective tissue.
When muscles, tendons, and ligaments are stronger, they’re less likely to be damaged when you move or put stress on them. Anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory effects that can help prevent pain from muscle fatigue or other sources.
Yummy ways to eat bilberry
The bilberry berry is sweet and juicy, which makes it perfect for use in desserts, beverages, or even as toppings on salads and yogurt. With these 10 tasty ways to eat bilberry, you can keep your weight in check while enjoying one of nature’s most powerful fruits!
A delicious and easy way to add bilberries to your diet is by throwing a handful into your morning smoothie. Not only will the berries add a lovely purple hue to your drink, but they’ll also give you an extra boost of antioxidants and vitamins. If you’re not used to the tart taste of bilberries, start by adding just a few to your smoothie and then increase the amount each time until you find the perfect balance for your taste buds.
In baked goods
Bilberry is a delicious ingredient that can be used in baking to give your cakes and bread a unique flavor. Bilberry is high in antioxidants, which are important for maintaining good health. It also has a sweet taste that is perfect for use in desserts. Here are a few tips on how to use bilberry in your baking:
– Add it to bread dough: Add 1/2 cup of bilberry jam to your bread dough before you let it rise. This will give the bread a unique flavor and make it moister.
– Use it in cake batter: Add 1/2 cup of bilberry jam to your cake batter before you bake it. This will add a fruity flavor and make the cake moist.
– Use it in muffins: Add 1/2 cup of bilberry jam to your muffin batter before you bake them.
Bilberry juice is a delicious way to get your daily dose of fruit, and it’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. Just blend up some fresh or frozen bilberries, add a little water or juice, and enjoy!
Start your day off right with these bilberry oatmeal cookies. They’re packed with whole grains, fiber, and bilberries, and make a delicious on-the-go breakfast or snack. To make them, simply combine rolled oats, gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, vegan butter, and bilberries in a bowl. Drop dough with a tablespoon onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool down and enjoy! These cookies are great as is, but they can also be topped with nuts or frosting.
Mix it in your yogurt
Bilberries are jam-packed with antioxidants and make a delicious addition to plant-based yogurt. Simply mix in a handful of berries to your favorite yogurt for a nutrient-rich breakfast or snack.
Make bilberry jam
Bilberry jam is a delicious and versatile condiment that can be used on everything from breakfast cereal to pizza. Here are some excellent reasons to make your own bilberry jam:
1. Economical: Making your own bilberry jam is a cost-effective way to enjoy this delicious condiment. You can save money by buying bilberries in bulk or by using frozen berries.
2. Delicious: Bilberry jam is a sweet and tart treat that tastes great on everything from toast to yogurt. You won’t find a better bilberry jam anywhere else than a good homemade version
3. It’s Versatile: Bilberry jam can be used in many different dishes and recipes. Try it on cereal, as a topping for pancakes or waffles, or on top of pizza. There’s no limit to how you can use bilberry jam!
Eat them plain as a snack
If you’re looking for a healthy snack that can help you stay on track, bilberries might be the perfect option. These berries are high in antioxidants and have been shown to help improve heart health and lower blood sugar levels. Plus, they taste great and are easy to store in a backpack or purse so you can take them with you wherever you go.
Bilberry Side Effects
Bilberries are generally considered safe for most people. However, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of. These include diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.
Other possible bilberry side effects can include inflammation of the throat or tongue. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking bilberries, please consult your doctor immediately.
While more research is needed on this topic, bilberries may interact with certain drugs in unpredictable ways. People who take warfarin (a medication often used to prevent clotting) should speak with their physician before starting a regimen of bilberry supplements because it could increase the risk of bleeding.
Those who take NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications) like ibuprofen or naproxen should also talk to their doctors before starting a bilberry supplement regimen because it could interfere with the effectiveness of these drugs.
Final thoughts on bilberry benefits:
Bilberry is a blueberry-like berry native to Europe, thus the term European berries.
They are rich in various beneficial compounds, especially anthocyanin, a type of antioxidant associated with a good majority of bilberry benefits.
Some of these benefits include fighting inflammation, promoting eye health, controlling blood sugar levels, relieving arthritis pain, combating bacterial infections, aiding weight loss, improving memory, and lowering cholesterol.
Bilberry is also easy to incorporate into the diet. You can blend them into your smoothies, include them in your baking recipes, make juice, or eat them as is.
While these berries are generally safe for most people, they may cause some adverse effects in sensitive individuals.
Also, if taking any prescribed medication, you may want to consult your health care provider before including it in your diet.
Other exotic fruits:
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