Bilberries are the little known European cousin of the blueberry and they're gaining a reputation amongst health professionals for their many health benefits. They're high in antioxidants, anthocyanosides, are nutrient packed and taste delicious.
Bilberries have high levels of antioxidants. These are the same antioxidants that help to protect and repair the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation and swelling and assist blood flow throughout the body - improving overall circulation. Because of this, people who often have cold hands or feet would find a bilberry supplement helpful, as would people who suffer from varicose veins.
Anthocyanosides are chemicals found in plants that affect pigment and color and act like super antioxidants in the human body. They can help eyes adapt easier to changes in light intensity, from bright to dull environments. Furthermore, bilberries can help prevent cataracts and can reduce damage to the light sensitive areas at the back of the eye.
Like most berries, bilberries are rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C is another form of antioxidant but also aids the immune system, meaning bilberries can also help prevent common colds. The tannin in bilberry leaves has a natural drying effect, so some naturopaths are beginning to recommend bilberry tea as an effective remedy for mild diarrhea. Bilberry's antioxidant and inflammation reducing properties can even help reduce the effect of sore throats and inflamed gums if bilberry liquid extract is gargled.
Bilberries are sold fresh, especially in European countries, or in tablet, capsule or liquid extract forms. Although fresh berries have the highest antioxidant levels, it can be difficult to find fresh berries in some locations. Concentrated pills, capsules and liquid extracts are more readily available and are often augmented with additional antioxidant additives.
When shopping for bilberry supplements, make sure that the supplement contains at least 25 percent anthocyanosides, the bilberry active ingredient. If buying dried bilberry leaves, tea can be made by pouring a cup of hot water over a small handful of leaves and then leaving the tea to steep for ten minutes.
Bilberries have many health benefits and adding bilberries or bilberry supplements to your daily diet could be the cure you're seeking. Studies show that bilberries have several benefits, and additionally, they taste great.