Small Berries With Big Diabetes Care Benefits: Bilberries

Bilberry tea sounds like the favorite drink at a Hobbit cafe, but the mild sounding bilberry comes with a tall list of powerful health benefits. The health perks are primarily owed to bilberry’s lode of anthocyanosides, a type of flavonoid (nutrient) found in several purple, red, and blue berries, and some purple veggies.

The anthocyanosides, and other bioactive compounds in bilberries are believed to have anti-inflammatory, lipid lowering, glucose lowering, and blood vessel strengthening effects that support overall well-being, and diabetes management.

Glucose, Vision, and Circulation

People have long noticed that bilberry has blood glucose lowering properties, and a few small studies agree. In fact, people taking glucose lowering medications should monitor their blood sugar closely when adding bilberry to their diet, to avoid hypoglycemia.

Research also suggests that bilberry strengthens retinal blood vessels, and reduces hemorrhaging in people with retinopathy, an eye disease often associated with diabetes. Bilberry may protect against macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma as well, and is known to improve night vision.

In Europe, bilberry is used to help people improve poor circulation and reduce the risk for blood clots. This small but mighty berry may also prevent the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol—a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Purchasing and Safety

The American Herbal Products Association classifies bilberry as a Class 1 herb, meaning it is safe to consume. It’s frequently sold as fresh, frozen, or dried whole berries, and may be the main ingredient of jams and juices. Dried bilberry leaves, plus liquid and powdered berry concentrates are available as well.

When shopping for bilberry, always read product labels carefully to make sure you are getting the real thing. Bilberry extract should have at least a 25 percent anthocyanidin content.

Though the berry is generally safe, anyone adding regular bilberry supplementation to their diet should check with a doctor, particularly if pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, or taking blood-thinning medications. Extended intake at high doses of any supplement could be toxic, including bilberry.

Cuppa Bilberry

One convenient way to enjoy bilberry benefits is to purchase bilberry tea bags, though making bilberry tea “from scratch” is easy:

  1. Put 1 to 3 teaspoons of dried bilberry (berries or leaves) into a teapot, or into a tea ball.
  2. Pour 1 cup of boiling water into the pot, or place the tea ball into a cup of just boiled water, and steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture if necessary; sweeten with a bit of stevia, or honey.

Keep in mind that making a habit of bilberry consumption can potentially lower glucose levels, so extra monitoring to check its effects on your blood sugar is recommended.

Sources: Dr. Axe, Diabetes UK, Herbal Teas Online
Photo: Pexels

Get A Free 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Treatment of Diabetes Depends on if it Is Type 1 or Type 2

The treatment of Diabetes depends upon which type of Diabetes a person has....

Having elevated blood sugar can damage our body’s nerves over time.

Diabetic neuropathy is the generic term for all...

Modern fitness culture has popularized a wide range of high-intensity activities, from Crossfit and spin-class to marathon running and exercise...

Depression is a mood disorder that causes you to feel sadness and lose interest in activities that you once enjoyed. The symptoms of depression...

There have been numerous studies that have demonstrated the link between gut health and autoimmune diseases, immune system, mental health, mood,...

More Articles

Nerve damage affects about 50 percent of people with diabetes, according to the American Physiological Society. Numbness, tingling and pain in the...

Diabetes has no known cure, but there are many ways to control the disease and prevent the symptoms from interfering with daily life. One major...

There are a host of complications that come along with diabetes of either type. Among them are increased risks for amputation, cardiovascular...

There is no question that people with diabetes need a diabetes diet plans and...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your blood glucose. For instance, a half cup of raspberries...

Oil pulling therapy derives from Ayurveda, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that...

It’s only been recently that doctors, including endocrinologists, have realized the starring role gut microbes play in our health. The unique...

Well-controlled diabetes may depend on medication, but nutrition is perhaps the most important factor. There are many foods that can be added to...

Sleep apnea — a condition that causes shallow or obstructive breathing patterns — is an unpleasant disorder that often goes hand in hand with...

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes difficulty breathing, wheezing, cough, and mucus...

Certain dietary supplements may play a beneficial supporting role in the prevention and management of diabetic neuropathy. Frequently...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose levels and blocked AGE glycation...

Hot weather does not directly alter blood glucose levels. However, sweltering temperatures affect our metabolism and the release of hormones. Heat...

Diabetes can seem to have an almost limitless list of symptoms. Now headaches are added to the list. The ebb...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...