You are probably wondering what is a bilberry. It does sound a lot like blueberry, and it is rightfully so because it is a relative to the blueberry. They are smaller than blueberries and appears to be darker in colour. The flesh of bilberries is dark whereas blueberries have pale, translucent flesh. Bilberries are juicy, sweet and tart at the same time which makes them a popular ingredient for jams, cakes and as a quick snack of raisins, just like the blueberry. Comparing its flavour profile to blueberries, bilberries have a more intense flavour. Historically, the bilberry fruit was used for medicinal purposes like treating diarrhoea. Today, this powerful fruit is used as a natural remedy for diarrhoea and a whole lot more like eye issues, varicose veins, poor circulation and even as a supplement for anti-ageing too!
Bilberries can be eaten exactly as you would with a blueberry. Be it eaten raw or made into jams, baked goods, tea and extracts, bilberries are a great ingredient to add to your healthy diet plan. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and are beneficial to caring for your eyes too. Read on to find out the amazing benefits that bilberry can bring to you and how you can add them into your diet effortlessly.
Remedy For Diarrhoea
Starting the list of benefits with the most ancient use of the bilberry for the human body—the remedy for diarrhoea. Bilberry contains tannins which are substances that function as an anti-inflammatory and an astringent that supports the constricting and tightening tissues. Hence, they make bilberry one of the best natural remedy in treating the symptoms of diarrhoea by reducing intestinal inflammation.
High in Vitamin C
Packed with vitamin C, consuming bilberry regularly can help reduce your chances of catching a common cold and boost your immune system. Vitamin C is necessary for your body to absorb iron, to develop and repair body tissues and maintaining your bones, teeth and cartilage. So pop them into your morning cereal and enjoy the benefits effortlessly.
Improve Blood Circulation
In Europe, bilberry extracts are used to treat circulation problems like varicose veins. Varicose veins are swollen veins that appear on the legs and feet due to poor circulation of blood. This is usually happens in the leg areas as the veins have to work harder to go against gravity to pump the blood back to the heart.
With the rich source of vitamin E in bilberries, you would be preventing blood clots as vitamin E is known to act as a natural blood thinner. Thus, lowering your risks of getting varicose veins, which can be a painful and unsightly problem.
Rich in Antioxidants
Like the blueberry which is well-known for its high levels of antioxidants, the bilberry is also rich in antioxidant content. This is because bilberry contains natural chemicals, commonly found in purple, blue and red fruits, called Anthocyanosides. Anthocyanosides are pigments found in certain plants and fruits with a large number of antioxidant properties. And if you have not heard, antioxidants are essential to combat free radicals in your body, with the intention of reversing dead cells and/or keeping your skin looking youthful.
Due to the flavonoids, Anthocyanosides presented in bilberry, it is widely used to improve night vision. It is also used to treat eye problems like macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic neuropathy by protecting the collagen structures in the blood vessels of your eyes.
Reducing Bad Cholesterol levels
Consuming a hand full of bilberry can help prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. Polyphenols found in bilberry does exactly that and lower your risk factor of heart attack and stroke. Up the effectiveness of this benefit with green tea and sip your way to better health. Simply steep your usual green tea in a large mug and pop in 6-8 halved bilberries and you are good to go!
Forestalls Lung Infection
Bilberry also contains phenolic compounds like quercetin, which is known to reduce exercise-induced respiratory infections. This helps to keep your lungs protected while you head out for your intensive workout.
Pair bilberries with food that contains papain and/or bromelain like bananas, mangoes honey or papaya to boost absorption of quercetin in your intestines.
Moderation is Key
The recommended amount of bilberry intake would be 20-60 grams daily. As many foods are, moderation is key to a well-balanced diet and good health. The consumption of bilberries is no exception but may cause you some serious health issues. Overeating this powerful berry may lead to some negative effects on your body like muscle spasms and loss of muscle weight. Also, not forgetting that bilberries help in relieving varicose veins by being a natural blood thinner, it can go the other way of spearheading a path to anaemia.