The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice, said Thomas Jefferson once. And just as if our ancestors had found their way to tell a superfood apart, in the course of human history, berries have always been an important and valued component of our diet.
Among the many micronutrients berries contain, anthocyanins have been discovered to possess a wide range of health-related properties, of which antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic and antimicrobial effects are the most well-known and valued in contemporary phytomedicine.
From the Greek words for “blue flower”, antro kyanos, these phenolic compounds are not only the main responsible for the red, purple and blue chromatic palette of the most emblematic berries, but also the main reason behid the many reported health benefits of such fruits.
As its color may suggest, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) is the anthocyanins richest berry. These nutrients within bilberries are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory that help to protect our cells from damage, scavenging free radicals and lowering oxidative stress. Anthocyanins also help to regulate cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.
Intake of antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory-rich foods is very important as western diets typically consist of energy dense and processed foods which lack such micronutrients. This deficit might lead to various chronic illnesses, as it’s thought to be a contributing factor to many diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Darkest berries might not always be the sweetest, but definitely are the healthiest.