To some people, the mere promise of food and wine…
Today Vine Vera continues our series on various fruit extracts for health, wellness, longevity, and skincare. The “superfruits” we’re looking at belong to a class of foods known for their high concentrations of compounds—like antioxidants—that promote overall health and wellbeing.
Today, after several articles discussing the merits and drawbacks of various fruits for skin and general health, we’ll finally be wrapping up this series with an article on Vaccinium myrtillus, the bilberry, possibly a hidden gem for health and skincare.
The Vaccinium myrtillus plant, a compact, small-leaved shrub native to Europe, Northern Asia, Greenland, Western Canada, and the Western United States, is closely related to the blueberry bush, and in fact, bears little bluish fruit that are virtually identical to its kin.
On the outside, blueberries and bilberries are pretty much impossible to tell apart. Slice them open, however, and the blueberry’s pale, translucent flesh both literally and figuratively pales in comparison to the bilberry’s bright red and strongly fragrant flesh. Eat a few of each, and you’ll likewise notice a stark contrast in taste; blueberries are pleasantly sweet and mild, while bilberries are both sweet and deliciously tart and intense.
Bilberries have several culinary uses, especially in desserts such as pies or tarts. Their pleasant but intense flavor lends itself well to such dishes, and you can generally substitute them for blueberries if you want a bit more of a sour kick in whatever you’re making.
Note that the Bilberry is also known as the huckleberry, so you may well have tried it before if you’ve ever had huckleberries.
Health, Wellness, and Longevity
Bilberries contain a good amount of a particularly potent type of antioxidant flavonoid known as anthocyanosides. This confers all the usual benefits of antioxidants, and is also believed to support your eyes and cardiovascular system.
Further, bilberry has potent anti-inflammatory problems, and could help with general inflammation in various parts of the body.
Finally, owing to its high vitamin C content, consuming bilberries is a great way to help get your recommended daily intake of the essential vitamin.
Bilberry happens to be a natural anti-inflammatory, as was just stated above. This make is great for people with sensitive skin, and products with bilberry extract in them would be able to simultaneously deliver nourishing antioxidants while also keeping irritations in check, a constant worry if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to anything that might get on your skin.
Owing to its high vitamin C content, bilberry is also an effective additive for helping to improve the appearance of sun damage.
Once again, Vine Vera must remind you that if you decide to add any kind of supplement to your diet, you should talk to your doctor about it, preferably beforehand. Further, as before, most of the claims put forth in this article are unproven, and very well may be true, but they also may not be; the claims have neither been fully confirmed nor shown to have high degrees of doubt attached to them.
Some of the claims have been tested to some extent, though, specifically the claims that bilberry benefits eye and cardiovascular health. More testing is likely needed to confirm for sure, though.