5 Eye-Catching Bilberry Health Benefits
Bilberry is a perennial plant belonging to the same plant family as blueberries and cranberries. It is often actually referred to as the wild blueberry because of the similarity in looks.
Bilberry can be found in Europe, Western Asia and in the Rocky Mountains area in North America. Bilberry is a very shrubby plant that bears edible fruits. Bilberry has great health benefits that make it one of the most important berries you can have in a healthy diet.
Very strong antioxidant
One potent bilberry health benefit is its strong antioxidant properties. According to the Heal with Food website, bilberries have the best Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating of more than 20 fresh fruits and berries. These antioxidant qualities are stronger than in cultivated blueberries or strawberries and cranberries. Bilberry has a number of important compounds that contribute its antioxidant properties, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, anthocyanins, reveratrol and tannins.
Bilberry’s health benefits are much down to its rich amount of anthocyanins. According to a health writer Jonathan Bechtel writing in 2012, these anthocyanins are likely the most useful phytonutrients in the plant kingdom. The anthocyanins are especially good at protecting the collagen structures in the body, for instance in the eyes. These compounds also improve overall blood flow in the body, thus making it very important for health in general.
Bilberry and eye health
As already mentioned above, the anthocyanins in bilberry are great for your eyes, because they help to protect the structures around it. It is also very useful in preventing macular degeneration and retinopathy.
Bilberry and cardiovascular health
Another bilberry health benefit comes from the ability of its antioxidants to protect the heart. A 1999 paper by Doctor Kathi Kemper published by the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research found that the improvements in circulation due to bilberry consumption can also help against circulatory conditions. This means that consuming bilberries might help prevent and improve atherosclerosis and varicose veins. Heal with Food notes that bilberries “help repair damaged proteins in the blood vessel walls and promote the overall health of the vascular system.”
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