7 Reasons To Consume Bilberry
By Tyler Woodward
Bilberry, commonly known as english blueberries is a type of fruit native to northeastern Europe. Their Bilberries have been consumed as an extremely nutritious fruit for hundreds of years and have been used more recently for their medicinal properties since at least the middle ages.
Benefits Of Bilberry:
Bilberry has been proposed to have a number of medicinal benefits including:
- May Improve Night Vision -
- May Increase Insulin Sensitivity And Blood Glucose Regulation -
- May Help Reduce Inflammation -
- May Have Antibacterial effects
- Rich Source Of Vitamin C -
- Rich Source Of Vitamin K
- Rich Source Of Anthocyanins -
Read More: Does Your Multivitamin Suck?
How Bilberry Works:
In addition to being a rich source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K1, bilberry is one of the richest plant sources of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid, a phytochemical with antioxidant qualities. Anthocyanins specifically are responsible for producing the colored pigments in many red, blue and purple fruits, grains, and tubers. It’s believed that these compounds are produced in plants as a means of attracting insects in order to help facilitate pollination, but they’ve also been shown to have a number of beneficial effects in humans.
First, the anthocyanins appear to be able to lower the levels of lipids in the bloodstream. Lipids or fats in the bloodstream compete with glucose (sugar) in order to enter the cell through an effect known as the Randall cycle. When this occurs insulin can continually build up in the bloodstream as the body attempts to lower the amount of glucose in the blood, which can potentially result in insulin resistance. When insulin resistance occurs oxidative stress can build-up in the body as a result of lack of available energy in the cell in addition to excess “materials” stuck in the bloodstream. By lowering the amount of lipids in the bloodstream it allows for insulin to function properly and facilitate the entrance of glucose into the cell, helping to restore proper cellular energy metabolism and lower systemic inflammation in the body. This is also likely the reason behind anthocyanin’s cardioprotective effects.
Anthocyanin also appears to be very beneficial for maintaining ocular health, especially in regards to improving night vision. A number of studies have been performed on bilberry for improving cataracts, retinopathy, and macular degeneration. However a lot of this research is performed on bilberries' in conjunction with other antioxidant substances such as vitamin E. For improving night vision, anthocyanins specifically seem to interact with the rhodopsin receptors in our visual system. The rhodopsin is a type of biological pigment that is very sensitive to light and is largely responsible for our ability to see at night and in low-light conditions.
Lastly, anthocyanin seems to have some unique antimicrobial effects, helping to fight against some of the “bad” or pathogenic bacteria in the body and exerting antibiotic-like effects. Anthocyanins seem to mostly help to fight against gram-negative bacteria also known as endotoxin which are inflammatory if they pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, but anthocyanin may also be able to help slow the growth of gram-positive bacterial.
Read More: Benefits Of Vitamin A
How To Supplement With Bilberry?:
The efficacy of purified bilberry supplements has yet to be shown in research. Additionally, the isolated stability of many of the compounds within bilberries like anthocyanins is not yet known, so extractions of bilberries may not be beneficial or as beneficial as consuming the food itself. In order to get all the benefits of the bilberry fruit I recommend finding a high-quality source of the fruit, preferably organic and if possible from a regenerative farm that puts a lot of effort into maintaining their soil quality. This will generally ensure that you are getting the highest quality bilberry without any detrimental compounds like pesticides or herbicides that are often used in mainstream farming techniques.
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