Bilberries are packed with antioxidants and powerful compounds called anthocyanins that may help prevent serious diseases while also boosting fitness and cognitive function. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to these little dark bundles of joy.
Berries have been used for thousands of years as a medicine and food. But it's only recently that the main health-promoting compounds in berries were identified as anthocyanins, which are a form of flavanoids. The anthocyanins in bilberries are visible to the eye as blue and red pigments, and are responsible for giving them their distinctive colour.
What are they?
Bilberries and blueberries are very similar in appearance. The key difference is that while blueberries are native to the United States, bilberries are native to Northern Europe. The other advantage that bilberries hold over their American cousins is that they contain higher levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and much higher levels of anthocyanins.
Bilberries contain high levels of anthocyanins which are compounds in the flavonoid family of polyphenol phytochemicals. These compounds are said to be responsible for various health benefits including potential improvements to cardiovascular health, glucose control and reduced inflammation by combating oxidative stress, which is particularly helpful for reducing the muscle soreness you feel after exercise. While research is ongoing, it's suggested that anthocyanins could help to inhibit the development of serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and inflammation, and could also potentially limit or even reverse age-dependent deteriorations in memory and cognition.
Bilberries are an ingredient in several of the Innermost blends: The Strong Protein, The Health Protein and The Lean Protein. Recommended for anyone looking to improve their overall well-being and also relieve muscle soreness after an intense bout of exercise or weight-lifting.
- Pojer, Elisa, et al. "The case for anthocyanin consumption to promote human health: a review." Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 12.5 (2013): 483-508.
- van Dam, Rob M., Nasheen Naidoo, and Rikard Landberg. "Dietary flavonoids and the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: review of recent findings." Current opinion in lipidology 24.1 (2013): 25-33.