Why Should I Eat Bilberry?

July 14, 2013 Natural remedies

bilberryBilberry (Vaccinum myrtillus) has one of the richest content in anthocyanins, which is found in red, purple or blue fruits. Bilberry have a pleasant sweet-sour taste and a lot of health benefits.

Bilberry is known to have anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and lipid-lowering effects. These fruits also improve vision, protect from cardiovascular and circulatory disease and reduce oxidative stress.

Top health benefits of bilberry

1. Antioxidant effects – Athocyanins fight free radicals and protect the cells against oxidative stress.

2. Antiseptic effect – Bilberry inhibits the adhesion of bacteria to cell walls. Thus, it is responsible for microbial killing. It can also be used to enhance the effects of antibiotics. Berries have proven effective especially in infections of the urinary tract but also in case of Helicobacter pylori.

3. Anticancer effects – There are experimental studies which indicate that bilberry plays an important role in cancer prevention. Moreover, it could inhibit the growth of breast cancer and colon cancer cells, without affecting the growth of normal cells. Bilberry was the most effective of the 10 different berries whose effects were tested.

4. Hypoglycemic effects – Anthocyanins stimulate the insulin secretion and glucose transport. A study made in Italy in 2004 proved bilberry to be one of the top five herbal remedies which improve the glycemic index.

5. Vascular health – Studies on animals indicate that anthocyanins from bilberry may have an effect regarding blood pressure and vascular health.

6. Anti-aging effects – Bilberry has anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory effects which may lower the risk of  strokes. In addition, the antioxidant effect of anthocyanins may help us keep our brain functional, as well as vision.

Bilberry can also be used externally to treat pharyngitis, stomatitis, and aphthae thanks to its antiseptic properties.

Sources: Jean Valnet, Health by fruits, vegetables and cereals

Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition; Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2011; Chapter 4 Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) – Wing-kwan Chu, Sabrina C. M. Cheung, Roxanna A. W. Lau, and Iris F. F. Benzie