The world of nutrition is an interesting one to say the least. Many of the plants that provide the most profound healing benefits aren’t eaten often. Some of them are found on specialty farms and orchards, such as the paw paw tree, which has been shown to have the strongest anti-cancer effects of any plant on two continents.
Others have been domesticated and sold in supermarkets and health food stores, such as broccoli and broccoli sprouts.
When it comes to berries, many of the healthiest ones are found growing wild in nature.
Chief among them is the bilberry, a humble, dark purple fruit that has been used medicinally for thousands of years, including in World War II according to a famous story found in school history textbooks.
Bilberry Improves Vision, Digestive Health, and Much More
Bilberries are a type of dark, thick-skinned berry that grows wild throughout Europe and North America, among other regions.
They are also called whortleberries, huckleberries, or blaeberries. Bilberries look similar to blueberries and are distinguishable by a slightly darker, more purplish color on the outside of the fruit. On the inside of the fruit, the color is red or purple compared to the lighter, slightly greenish tint of a blueberry.
Bilberries are typically found in health supplements that can be purchased online, or found growing in the wild.
These tiny berries are most often found:
-In open woodlands
-On acid heaths and moors
-In windswept areas, growing lower to the ground than usual
Bilberries are typically found ready for picking in mid-summer to early Autumn, and grow on shrubs between 12 to 24 inches high (30-60 centimeters).
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The health benefits of these humble but powerful berries are many according to WebMD and several other sources. Some studies suggest bilberries can help to prevent tiredness in the eyes, which can lead to eye strain, headaches, and double vision.
During World War II, pilots in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) consumed bilberries before going out on night sorties, allowing them to see better during the night time hours and helping them to win battles against Nazi pilots.
Bilberry and bilberry extract can also help to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. The berries may help increase insulin secretion in people with metabolic syndrome, also according to WebMD.
Additionally, bilberries can help to prevent blood clots that could lead to adverse cardiac events like stroke or heart attack. The antioxidants in bilberries can lower blood pressure.
Bilberries are packed full of Vitamin C and help protect against disease-causing free radicals and cancer because they are rich in antioxidants. They also can help reduce inflammation of the digestive system which may help prevent diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion.
Harvesting and Using Bilberry Fruits
Bilberries are simple to pick, and may be used in a wide variety of recipes.
One of them is bilberry syrup, which is a simple and quick way to enjoy the taste and health benefits of bilberries, similar to elderberry syrup and hawthorne berry syrup. Learn more in the video below:
Where to Find Bilberry Online
A large number of bilberry products can also be found online on Amazon.com and independent health websites.
Doses range from 880 to 3600 mg depending on the product, with some providing the whole fruit and others bilberry extracts.
The one shown below is on the lower end of the dosage spectrum but offers a complete range of bilberry benefits and has a large number of four and five-star reviews on Amazon.com.
The popular bilberry powder is also available, and typically comes in a dark purple color.