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... and we're here to run you through the basics.
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 flavonoids. The anthocyanins in bilberries are visible to the eye as blue and red pigments, and are responsible for giving them their distinctive colour.
Often overlooked in favour of other more common berries, the benefits of bilberries are huge - and somewhat surprising. So much so, that British soldiers and pilots were known to eat these as they felt that they improved their vision.
What are Bilberries?
You may be asking yourself - what is a bilberry? Why have I never heard of this before? You'd be forgiven - these little super fruits aren't commonly on supermarket shelves.
Sometimes referred to as European blueberries, 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 are also a lot more tasty - with an intense flavour, which is why they are particularly popular with those that try them.
What are the health benefits of bilberries?
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.
As well as overall health benefits, the bilberry fruit brings some huge nutritional benefits, too.
- Rich in nutrients
- High antioxidant levels
- Contains Vitamin C and K
- High in manganese
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.
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van Dam, R. M., Naidoo, N., & Landberg, R. (2013). Dietary flavonoids and the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: review of recent findings. Current opinion in lipidology, 24(1), 25-33. Click here.
Wang, L. S., & Stoner, G. D. (2008). Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention. Cancer letters, 269(2), 281-290. Click here.