Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a plant that grows berries similar to American blueberries. The dried fruit and leaves are used in traditional medicine.
Bilberry, “dark berry,” is a northern European plant. Anthocyanin, a chemical that gives these tiny, round fruits their distinctive dark purple color, is abundant in these small, round fruits. Its dark berries are similar to blueberries. Unfortunately, few people are familiar with bilberries, whereas blueberries are widely consumed. You can make jams, juices, liquors, pies, and yogurts.
Tannins are chemicals found in Bilberry. They may aid in the reduction of swelling. Bilberry leaf chemicals may also help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and improve circulation in diabetes, treat night blindness, poor circulation, leg swelling, high blood pressure, and various other conditions.
Nutritional Values | Bilberry
Fresh bilberries contain the following nutrients in 100 grams:
- Calories: 44 kcal
- Protein: 0.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 11.5 g
- Fiber: 2.8 g
- Vitamin C: 44 mg
- Vitamin A: 1.08 RE (Retinol Equivalents)
- Quercetin: 3 mg
- Catechin: 20 mg
- Calcium: 15 mg
The total anthocyanin content ranges from 300 to 700 mg per 100 grams. Bilberries have more antioxidant power because they contain more total anthocyanins. It is also composed of approximately 90% water and contains higher levels of cyanidin, delphinidin, and peonidin.
Health Benefits | Bilberry
High in nutrients
Bilberries, like most berries, are high in nutrients. They are commonly known as European blueberries because they share the same plant family as this popular fruit and have a nutritional profile similar to blueberries. Bilberries, as a result, provide:
- Approximately 85 calories.
- Fifteen grams of naturally occurring sugar.
- Four grams of fiber per cup (148 grams).
They, like blueberries, are likely to be 85 percent water, with reasonable amounts of manganese and vitamins C and K.
May Improve eye vision
Bilberries are well-known for their purported ability to improve vision, particularly at night. A few small studies on the effects of these berries on night vision have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support this benefit.
However, bilberries may help your vision in other ways. In a 2-year study of people with glaucoma, which causes gradual loss of sight, taking 120 mg of bilberry anthocyanins improved visual function daily by around 30%. At the same time, the placebo group had worsened visual function.
Research suggests that taking 160-480 mg of powdered bilberry extract every day may help reduce eye dryness and other symptoms of eye fatigue caused by working with video display terminals.
Bilberries may aid in the fight against inflammation, which is the root cause of many diseases. This effect could be attributed partly to the presence of anthocyanins, antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.
In one three-week study, people who took a supplement containing 300 mg of bilberry anthocyanins daily saw a 38-60% reduction in inflammatory markers, compared to a 4-6% reduction in the placebo group. Furthermore, a small 4-week study found that drinking 11 ounces (330 ml) of bilberry juice daily significantly reduced inflammation markers compared to a placebo.
Help in controlling blood sugar level
Bilberries are a popular herbal remedy for lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
Experts believe that the berries, like some blood-sugar-lowering medications, prevent carb breakdown and absorption in your gut.
According to animal studies, the anthocyanins in bilberries may also stimulate insulin secretion, the hormone required to help move sugar from your blood into your cells.
One study found that bilberry extract reduced blood sugar levels more effectively than a placebo in adults with type 2 diabetes. The section was equivalent to 50 grams of fresh bilberries.
Improve heart health
Bilberry may be partly due to their high vitamin K content, which aids in preventing blood clot formation, lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke. Further research suggests that the specific combination of anthocyanins found in bilberries may help lower blood pressure.
In one 8-week study, 35 people who took a berry mixture, including bilberries, daily saw improvements in platelet function, blood pressure, and HDL (good) cholesterol levels — all of which are linked to a healthier heart.
In another 12-week study, people who took 320 mg of anthocyanins from blackcurrants and bilberries daily saw an 11% increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and a 14% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol compared to less than a 1% drop in the placebo group.
Other potential benefits
Bilberries may also provide the following health benefits:
Brain function may be improved: In older adults, powdered bilberry supplements have been linked to improved long-term and working memory.
Bacteria may be killed: Bilberries have been shown in laboratory studies to have antimicrobial properties against potentially harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.
May alleviate ulcerative colitis symptoms (UC): A 13-person study discovered that taking a bilberry supplement daily reduced chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum in people with UC.
Remember that these studies were small, and some did not include a placebo group, making it difficult to determine whether the bilberry supplements were responsible for the beneficial effects. As a result, more research is required.
Bilberries are a fruit native to Europe that is closely related to blueberries. Whortleberry, huckleberry, and European blueberries are other names for this fruit. Bilberry contains anthocyanins and minerals that are beneficial to the body.
Furthermore, data support the use of Bilberry for various health conditions. Bilberries, for example, can treat eye disorders, reduce gum inflammation and bleeding, and regulate blood sugar levels. Taking bilberry supplements can also help you get your daily dose of nutrients and anthocyanin benefits. It may, however, interact with the cancer drug erlotinib and diabetes medications.
Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence to support bilberry consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. To get the most out of this healthy food, include bilberries as a snack in your daily diet.
Bilberries are consumed fresh or processed into jams, juices, and pies. Bilberries can also be purchased as a powder, liquid, or supplement.
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