What are the benefits of bilberries and how to add them to the diet?

Bilberry is a small red fruit that grows in Georgia from Italy and South Africa. It has become very popular over the last 100 years, having been cultivated for thousands of years. Its shape is a small oval-shaped berry that looks like two heads side-by-side. It’s a red reddish brown color, with white or light tan undertones due to its high levels of anthocyanin, which gives it a vibrant purple hue. Bilberry contains plenty of other nutrients like Vitamin A, vitamin B-1, potassium, folate, calcium, and copper. The most common species of bilberry grown in America is European Bilberry. This particular variety has three distinct varieties including Bilberry Puree, Glorious Harvest, and Glorious Gold. All these types have varying amounts of different antioxidants and phenolic compounds that improve the skin, immune system, and brain health. Although this fruit could be consumed raw, its juice is known to be more effective when it’s blended with other foods.

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Here are some benefits associated with using bilberry:

It helps maintain cholesterol levels

Bilberry contains a decent amount of polyphenols and polyphenol phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols are naturally found in green leafy vegetables, berries, and tea; however, in contrast to other fruits, they can increase blood pressure and triglycerides. Studies reveal that some of the polyphenols found in bilberry may also lead to reducing some types of belly fat.

It helps boost immunity

Studies show that polyphenols enhance immune function by inhibiting a reaction between the body cells and the bacteria called Staphylococcus. These substances act as antioxidants, which protect the body against harmful free radicals. In addition to lowering cholesterol and improving kidney, lung, and liver health, they also prevent Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

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It improves gut health

Polyphenols can help you manage your digestive system and ease symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. They help reduce gas emissions and regulate bowel movements. Some studies suggest that polyphenols can reduce the intestinal absorption of certain sugars. Moreover, they can also stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and help control the normal waste products. That way, people with a compromised gut feel better.

It reduces cholesterol

In a separate study, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital found that bilberry appears to reduce LDL levels in obese individuals. Their findings showed that bilberry had the ability to lower triglyceride levels because, as suggested previously, it’s packed with healthy antioxidants and compounds that can stop atherosclerosis formation. Another researcher, who conducted an experiment on rats, concluded that eating bilberry may be able to reverse metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Furthermore, another study suggested that bilberry may help cure constipation.

It controls blood sugar spikes

An experiment done by Dr. Yvonne Gounard, M.D., Director of Clinical Research at Harvard Medical School, discovered that the natural compound, chlorogenic acid, might lead to a reduction in blood sugar spikes when used in conjunction with glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Since glucose is sugar, it is usually stored in a solid form and takes a long time to release sugar as glucose from adipose than from the blood. Therefore, if excess sugar is released or stored in the blood, the blood sugar level spike will occur sooner than in the case with low or no accumulation. Instead, by combining them with bilberry, you will get a mixture of both sugar and its derivatives together. It means the sugar absorbed into your bloodstream will be neutralized. So, sugar-induced fluctuations will not occur.

It prevents dementia and osteoporosis

Another benefit is related to protecting the elderly from memory loss and cognitive decline. Some studies conducted on older adults show that bilberry extract had the ability to reduce their cognitive performance. Additionally, another group found out that the consumption of bilberry has also been shown to decrease the risk of getting heartburn, which is caused by insufficient oxygen in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, it can help make sure the stomach stays supplied with adequate oxygen and prevents obesity. As a result, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis are prevented.

It lowers hypertension

Polyphenols present in bilberry may be able to lower blood pressure and may even be able to stop sudden death due to hypertension. Nevertheless, they also decrease the rate of blood clot formation. Those with elevated blood pressure and poor blood flow to the brain and veins can experience increased stroke frequency and slower recovery from strokes. In addition, it is also said that drinking about one tablespoon of bilberry is enough to lower blood pressure and lower the risk of dying from stroke.

In conclusion, all of us need to consume enough food rich in antioxidants to avoid any type of damage to our bodies and minimize the risks of age-related illnesses.

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