Bilberry is related to the common blueberry. Like other vibrantly colored berries, it is an antioxidant. Bilberries are also a good source of thiamin (Vitamin B1), Vitamin C, and beta-carotene. They tone blood vessels, improve eye health, and lower blood sugar levels.*
Circulation and Blood Vessels:
Bilberry’s antioxidant properties come from anthocyanosides, a bioflavonoid complex that supports connective tissues and capillaries, dilates blood vessels, and reduces the stickiness of platelets (a cause of blood clots). Because of its good effect on blood vessels and circulation, bilberry has been used as a remedy for decreased blood flow, hardening of the arteries, and varicose veins.
Bilberry is well known for improving vision. World War II pilots in the British Royal Air Force ate bilberry jam for the sole purpose of improving their night vision!
- Anthocyanin is the compound that gives bilberry its vibrant color, and is thought to relieve day blindness (hemeralopia).
- Bilberry also contains the plant pigment, rhodopsin, which tends to improve night vision and help eyes adapt to light changes.
Aid for Diabetes
Recent research suggests that bilberry may have good effects on the condition of Type 2 diabetes. Anthocyanins help to reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity.