All About Arctic Berries

Arctic berries are not only tasty but they have a high proportion of nutrients with light energy content. They contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as nutritional fibre. They are also rich in antioxidants, which flight molecules that can damage your cells; therefore, berries can prevent inflammation and even cancer. Berries are perfect food choice for children, the elderly, competitive athletes as well as those losing weight.

Berries is one of the best source of polyphenols that have been found to have beneficial effects on human health. Each kind of berry typically produces certain polyphenols. For example, anthocyanin levels in wild bilberry are up to 4 times higher than in cultivated highbush blueberry. Regular use of berries not only help to lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar and insulin levels but also enhance the function of your arteries. The berries improve endothelial performance which helps to control the blood pressure and keep blood from clotting, therefore, preventing heart disease.

BILBERRY

Berries may reduce skin ageing because they are collagen-boosting. Collagen is a protein fibre that makes the skin stronger and healthier. Vitamin C forms and stores collagen, antioxidants and ellagic acid found in berries which block enzymes that break down collagen.

Arctic Bilberries are distinct from blueberries but closely related to them. In several other European languages its name translates as “blueberry” or “wild blueberry”, and this may cause confusion with the related plants more usually known as “blueberry” in American English.

Bilberry contains vitamins A, C, E and K and is a great source of fiber. It is also a source of zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese. The deep blue flesh of the wild bilberries are known to be rich with anthocyanin compounds and have four times the concentration compared to farmed blueberries. The blue pulp of wild bilberry is full of the pigment anthocyanin while blueberry has a light-coloured pulp. The deeper the color, the richer the berries are in anthocyanin and other antioxidants.

Compare with other berry fruits, bilberry is overall one of the best sources of phenolic compounds. Flavonoids are the main group of phenols, which include e.g. anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins consist of flavan-3-ol units. Proanthocyanidins are known also to be highly effective scavengers of free radicals and function as antioxidants.

Bilberry has been found to do the following:

  • Protects Tissue - With their potent antioxidant activity anthocyanins protect body tissues, particularly blood vessels, from oxidizing agents circulating in the blood. Antioxidants allow these harmful oxidizing agents to bind to them instead of to body cells, preventing the agents from causing permanent damage to the lining of blood vessels.

  • Improves circulation - Several studies have shown that bilberry stimulates blood vessels to release a substance that helps dilate (expand) veins and arteries. Bilberries help keep platelets from clumping together, which, in turn, thins the blood, prevents clotting, and improves circulation. The antioxidants promote the overall health of the vascular system by strengthening the blood vessel walls and cardiac muscles.

  • Improves brain health and memory - Anthocyanin, together with selenium, vitamins and micronutrients can prevent degeneration of brain cells and neuron tissue, as well as heal already damaged cells for sharper memory.

  • Improves skin appearance - The anti-aging properties are known to have a direct effect on skin. The antioxidants, together with other nutrients, neutralise free radicals which cause aging and skin cell damage. A high concentration of pectin is seen to clear intestinal toxins that may contribute to acne. Vitamin C helps in strengthening blood vessel walls and the capillaries just below the skin and therefore can prevent bruises, varicose veins and blotches from appearing on the skin. Improved circulation can also assist in reducing cellulite.

  • Assists in digestion - Antioxidants provide a detoxing effect by cleansing toxins and waste products from the body. The polyphenols found in bilberries have been found to aid in weight loss and are particularly useful in breaking down belly fat. The high content of fiber found in bilberries in turn assists in digestion and works to prevent constipation.

  • Improves vision - High concentrate of anthocyanin, in addition to flavonoids, vitamins C, E and A as well as selenium and carotenoids have been documented as being beneficial for vision and eye health. Improvements were seen in night vision and ability to adjust to darkness.

Lingonberry

Lingonberry is edible wild berry grown under northern latitudes and traditionally one of the mostly picked and frequently used berries in various parts of the world. It contains significant amount of Vitamin E, manganese. The berries are a great source of fiber and are rich in many different type of polyphenols. Lingonberries also contain lignan, resveratrol and proanthocyanidins. The amount of resveratrol in lingonberries is similar to that found in the key ingredient of red wine, dark grapes.

Lingonberry and Cranberries contain significant amount of Lignans, nearly 50% more than most of the other wild berries. Lignans are converted to enterolactone by intestinal bacteria in the human body. It has been suggested that lignans suppress the development of hormone-dependent cancers.

Proanthocyanidins, rich in cranberry and lingonberry, have been observed to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the walls of the urinary tract, the gastric mucosa, and the mouth.

Lingonberry has been found to do the following:

  • Helps with heart and cardiovascular disease and prevention of obesity and diabetes.

  • Reduces inflammation - Can lower inflammatory molecules, block oxidants from destroying tissue, and also help the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in our body.

  • Protects antioxidants - Lingonberry has also been shown to increase red blood cell and liver enzymes needed for antioxidant protection. We need antioxidants to protect vessels and nerve tissue, and also to help decrease the damage from inflammation.

  • Reduces effects of AGEs - Lingonberry has been shown to reduce the effect of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs are the byproduct of sugars and heated protein molecules in the body that accumulate in patients with high blood sugar. These AGEs contribute to the damage in a diabetic’s vessels. This damage is a major contributor to kidney disease, eye disease and circulation problems that can lead to skin sores and amputation.

Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn has the highest nutrient content of all the wild berries. It contains over 190 nutrients and phytonutrients, including vitamin C, which is 12 times higher than that of an orange. It also contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, making it a powerful superfood.


The berry has as much vitamin E as wheat germ, three times more vitamin A than carrots, and four times more
superoxide dismutase (SOD), an important enzyme that helps prevent free radical damage, than ginseng. Plus, it’s rich in essential fatty acid and it is the only plant source that contains omega 3, 6, 9, and 7 fatty acids. These support healthy cardiovascular function and digestive system, have a positive effect on skin and hair and are seen to promote brain and nervous system functioning.

Sea buckthorn has been found to do the following:

  • Improves skins appearance - Because of the anti-aging properties, sea buckthorn is widely used in various products in skincare. For direct healing it can be used on wounds, burns, cuts or any kind of skin damage to support and cool down the skin from external harm. The berry's omega-3 fatty acids combat skin inflammations by reducing levels in the body of an inflammatory substance called leukotriene B-4. Sea buckthorn berries are so rich in health- enhancing constituents that many experts consider them a nutraceutical – a food with health-protective or curative properties. Dr. Mehmet Oz, emmy- award winning TV host of The Dr. Oz Show, has termed sea buckthorn a ‘miracle berry’ and endorses sea buckthorn extracts for their moisturizing, restorative and protective effects on skin. Antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals and carotenoids in the berries prevent aging by supporting cell reproduction and maintain a good immune system.

  • Source of vitamin B12 for vegans - Normally appears only in meat. Aging also increases the need of vitamin B12 as the natural absorption of it decreases by 30% in aging.

  • Improves cardiovascular health - Anti-inflammatory components support good cardiovascular health by reducing the blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis, meaning blood vessel thickening and blocking.

  • Improves join health - Anti-inflammatory components improve the body’s natural healing process and are seen to relieve joint pain.

  • Improves general well being - Sea-buckthorn berries are high in beta- carotene, a natural pigment and potent antioxidant. The antioxidants and flavonoids found in berries have anti-inflammatory properties; they also promote healing of connective tissue and can help prevent allergic reactions. Rich in essential vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, K which assist in the functioning of the brain and nervous system, enhance eye health for better vision and most importantly, benefit general well being.

Cranberry

Like most berries, the cranberry is a good source of vitamin C. Because of its tough skin, the cranberry is also a good source of fibre. The bitter taste of the cranberry is due to the presence of various natural acids: malic, citric and benzoic acid. Polyphenol compounds typical to the cranberry are flavonols such as quercetin and myricetin. Cranberries also contain other polyphenols that have been the subject of research, such as lignans and proanthocyanidins.

Lignans are phenolic phytoestrogens that are converted to enterolactone by intestinal bacteria in the human body. Lingonberries and cranberries contain significant amounts of lignans, nearly 50% more than most of the other wild berries. It has been suggested that lignans suppress the development ofhormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer.

Proanthocyanidins, rich in cranberry and lingonberry, have been observed to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the walls of the urinary tract, the gastric mucosa, and the mouth.

Blackcurrants

Infection-fighting vitamin C content is high in these berries, it contains four times more vitamin C then orange. This vitamin has antioxidant properties that stop free radicals (from exposure to toxic chemicals and pollutants that cause aging, cancer, heart disease, and inflammation) from damaging cells. The body uses vitamin C to metabolize protein and form collagen, which is essential for skin care and anti-aging.

B-vitamins in blackcurrants such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1) are important metabolisms.

Iron is an important mineral in blackcurrants, providing 20 percent of the daily value along with protection against immunity deficiencies and fatigue by transporting oxygen to cells. Also present are copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium for optimal cell, tissue, and organ function in the body. Blackcurrant has anthocyanins like cyanidin 3- rutinoside, delphinidin 3-glucoside, and peonidin 3-rutinoside. When consumed in fair amounts, these phytochemicals improve insulin sensitivity, particularly in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrate- metabolizing enzymes (like α-Glucosidase and pancreatic α-amylase) are the targets of anthocyanins. They block the activity of these enzymes. As a result, the rapid breakdown of carbohydrates is slowed down. Ultimately, anthocyanins can prevent sudden spikes in your blood sugar/glucose levels.

Flavonoids like betacarotene, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin help lower the risk of lung and mouth cancers, protect against neurological diseases, slow the aging process, and fight inflammation. One study showed that blackcurrant supplements enhanced the immune response in people who exercised regularly. They could also train harder for longer periods of time.

Another study of healthy older adults showed that blackcurrant seed oil boosted the immune system as blackcurrants have a direct effect on your body’s inflammatory response. Blackcurrant contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid that’s been said to help ease inflammation in the body. The high GLA and anthocyanin content can help reduce joint or muscle pain, stiffness, soreness and damage.

Studies show blackcurrants may play a part in preventing Alzheimer's disease, prevent and treat arthritis, gout, and liver problems, ease problems with menopause, painful periods, and PMS, and against diarrhea.
The ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) in blackcurrants is one of the highest among every other fruit but a few: chokeberries, elderberries, and cranberries
.

Grape-based drinks like wine and juice are known to help decrease plaque buildup, but blackcurrant juice is far more potent. Blackcurrant is high in potassium and GLA, which can help lower your blood pressure too. The GLA also helps cells in your heart resist damage and slows down platelet clumping in your blood vessels.

In addition, one study found that blackcurrant powder increased heart blood flow and decreased overall peripheral resistance. This suggests that blackcurrant may help you recover after exercise. Clinical trials with blackcurrants found that these berries improve eye function, including:

  • the eyes’ ability to adapt to the dark

  • blood flow to the eyes

  • slowed progression of visual field deterioration in people with glaucoma

  • symptoms of visual fatigue

    People who have high screen time every day may benefit from blackcurrant supplements. One study found that 1 tablespoon of dried blackcurrant berries reduced visual fatigue two hours afterward.