Tue, Apr 27, 2021 2:59 AM
When it comes to harnessing the full potential of your health and wellness, there are numerous ways to stay healthy. Of course, having a balanced diet and regular exercise is the most primary method, but there are also extra ways to do so, such as the wonders of consuming superfoods.
Superfoods do sound like a superhero because it does! Superfoods are not only packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but it also makes you healthy without extravagant amounts of calories! With superfoods, you’ll keep fit and healthy at the same time while eating delicious and nutritious food!
Antioxidants are natural-occurring molecules that can be found in certain foods. It helps neutralize the radicals in the bodies, which are natural byproducts of energy production that can cause problems in the body and wellness, such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, and immune deficiency.
One of the most impressive superfoods nowadays is elderberry, a small, purple berry. This superfood contains multiple compounds that are beneficial in our body such as phenolic compounds that include anthocyanosides, the blue-red pigments found in elderberries that have immune-stimulating, anti-microbial, and other beneficial health properties.
What is Elderberry?
Elderberry refers to the diverse varieties of the Sambucus tree, a flowering plant belonging to the Adoxaceae family. The most common type is Sambucus nigra or more commonly known as the European elderberry or black elder. The elderberry tree is native to Europe, but it is still widely grown in many other parts of the world as well.
Elderberry plants grow up to 30 feet tall and have clusters of small white- or cream-colored flowers known as elderflowers. The berries are found in small black or blue-black bunches of fruits.
The berries have a slightly tart taste and need to be cooked to be eaten. Meanwhile, the flowers have a delicate muscat smell and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Elderberries can be consumed in numerous ways. Elderberries can be cooked and used to make juice, jams, chutneys, pies, and wine. The flowers are often boiled with sugar or honey to make sweet syrup or be infused with teas. They can also be eaten fresh in salads for an extra fruity tart.
Elderberries contain low calories yet are packed with antioxidants. A 100 gram serving of fresh elderberries contains 73 calories, 18 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram each of fat and protein.
What Are The Health Benefits of Elderberry?
The beneficial properties of elderberries can be mainly attributed to anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that works by clearing the body of free radicals that damage cells up to the DNA level. Aside from detoxifying properties, elderberries also have antiviral properties that may prevent the severity of common infections. Here are other health benefits from elderberries.
Treatment for Colds and Flu
Elderberry can be extracted to use the juice as a home remedy to treat the cold and the flu since it has anti-viral properties. The juice decreases the severity and the duration of the infection if consumed within 48 hours of the symptoms.
A 2019 study on elderberry for cold and flu treatment suggested that the fruit significantly reduced the symptoms.
Treatment for Constipation
Elderberry can be dried and made into a tea which can then be used to treat constipation. Elderberries have a laxative effect attributed to the compound known as anthraquinone that inhibits the absorption of water in the intestines. This increases the intestinal pressure, stimulating muscle contractions to promote better clearance of the bowel.
Since elderberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are known to reduce inflammation. It inhibits the production of nitric oxide by the body's immune cells that serve as a signaling molecule that triggers inflammation in response to an injury or a disease. Anthocyanin works by tempering this response, pain and swelling may be relieved.
When used topically, elderberry concentrates are used to treat dental pain, bruises, cuts, and burns. There are also studies that claim elderberries treat sciatica and other forms of neuropathic pain.
Improved Heart Health and Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
Elderberries are rich in three kinds of flavanols that are filled with antioxidant properties that may help with the improvement of heart health. Studies have linked flavonol to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Consequently, it also reduces fat levels in the blood, lowers cholesterol, and improves blood sugar levels.
Although elderberries can be consumed on their own, for most busy adults, it can be a hassle to prepare these berries. Fortunately, there are elderberry products that can be purchased to experience the wonders of this superfood. It is made into gummies, powder extracts, lozenges, and more.
It is crucial to know that elderberry products may optimize and reinforce your immunity; however, it's always a good idea to check with your physician before adding any supplement to your routine. Before taking up any kind of supplement, reach out to your health care provider about the specific supplement you intend to add and the dosage that is right for you.