There are different types of Bilberries that fall under the Vaccinium myrtillus specie. Bilberries are dainty purplish berries that are cultivated, and found in the wild. These berries are similar in appearance to blueberries; however, bilberries are slightly smaller. A simple way to identify bilberries from blueberries is by noticing how the berries are formed on the shrub. Bilberries produce either a single berry or paired berries on the bush/shrub whereas blueberries produce a cluster on the same. Furthermore, bilberries have a softer texture and are juicier than blueberries.
Why Bilberries are expensive
Cultivation of bilberries is very low, and majority ofthese berries are handpicked from lands that are not accessible to public, and that’s why bilberries are expensive at supermarkets or gourmet stores. Bilberries are found in abundance in Central Europe. More than 17% of accessible land in Sweden has bilberry bushes. These berries are also found in plenty in Finland, Austria, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland and Estonia. The purplish color that comes on your fingers or tongue when you have bilberries is because of anthocyanin pigments, which form acid base indicator naturally.
Bilberries have a diverse range of health benefits. Since bilberries are not easily available in different parts of the world, majority of people globally consume bilberry extracts through dietary supplements. Because of its diverse range of health benefits related to eye health, bilberry extract is one of the highest selling herbal supplements globally. Bilberry is the highest selling herbal supplement in the US with sales in excess of $28 million in 2010. For many eye-related functions, eye doctors prescribe tablets or tonics with bilberry extracts.
Health Benefits of Bilberries for the Eyes
Bilberry consumption is known to improve eye function, which is why it makes perfect sense to include this berry in your diet. You can also use dietary supplements that use blueberry extracts if you do not find bilberries at a supermarket or gourmet store in your country.
How Bilberries help in Eye health and eye functions
- The anthocyanosides present in bilberries are chemical compounds that are known for their anti inflammatory properties and antioxidant properties, these help immensely in varied retinal functions and overall eye health.
- Bilberries are known to benefit individuals with macular degeneration, where deterioration occurs in central parts of the retina.
- Bilberry extracts help stimulate rhodopsin pigment production which in turn helps eyes adapt in to light condition in varied visual environments.
- Individuals with damaged blood vessels or abnormal blood vessels related to retina in retinopathy have benefitted significantly from intake of bilberries.
- Bilberry extracts have proved extremely useful in reducing and minimizing retinal inflammation in various eye-related disorders and diseases.
- Bilberries are a natural source of antioxidants that help scavenge free radicals, responsible for damage of healthy cells near retinal areas. Antioxidants and flavonoids play a vital role in maintaining healthy vision and eye health.
- Bilberries are an excellent source of curcuminoids that help prevent and minimize the risk of diabetic retinopathy.
- Consumption of bilberries helps in the homeostasis and restoration of corneal and limball epithelial cells.
- Anthocyanosides which are a potent form of antioxidants found in bilberries help prevention of secondary outbreak or disease near visual retinal cells.
- Consumption of bilberries helps eye functions greatly. These berries help natural flow of blood in capillary blood vessels thereby providing nourishment to the eyes.
- Regular consumption of bilberries helps reduce the risk of ocular disorders related to old age,. Regular bilberry intake minimizes the risks of diseases such as night blindness and cataract.
- Zinc and selenium among other minerals present in bilberries help enhance transduction of visual signals in the retina thereby providing enhanced vision at night. The complex composition of minerals and nutrients found in bilberries improve eye health tremendously.
- The alkaloids, carbonic acids, and minerals found in bilberries help immensely in enhanced eye functions.
Other Health Benefits of Bilberries
Since bilberry extract through dietary supplements has very minimal side effects, bilberry supplements are considered safe for consumption. Bilberries are also used as home remedies to treat diarrhea, intestinal disorders and inflammation in the mouth. Bilberries are delicious and make a great healthy snack, especially for diabetics with diabetic retinopathy. Bilberries like other berries of the Vaccinium Myrtillus specie are a low-glycemic index fruit which translates to absorption and breakdown taking place slowly after consumption.
Bilberries have medicinal properties that help…
- In treatment of stomach ulcers
- In treatment of hemorrhoids
- Soothe menstrual cramps
- Assist in detoxification processes
- Prevent bacterial growth
- Strengthen Capillaries
- In treatment of digestive disorders
- Stimulate Circulation