During this health-conscious time, boosting your natural immune system has never been more important. One way to fight the growing number of health concerns we face today is by boosting your antioxidant intake. Berries are a great source of antioxidants, which help to fight harmful oxidation in the body and protect against free radicals, preventing damage to our body’s cells. Despite their vitamin-rich content, there are several lesser-known berries that have amazing health-boosting properties you need to know about.
With the world on the hunt for healthy fruits that can easily be incorporated into a balanced diet, we have brought you a list of the top 5 super berries you may never have heard of, all rich in the vitamins your body needs to work properly and stay healthy!
1. Aronia Berry (Chokeberry)
This little-known healthy fruit is one of the richest sources of plant antioxidants in the world. Hailing from North America, the Aronia berry was traditionally used by Native Americans as a cold remedy, thanks to its health-boosting properties. Although also known as the Chokeberry for its tart taste when ripe, it’s worth incorporating its unique flavour into a delicious smoothie, juice, jam, or tea. It has four times as many antioxidants as the more commonly used blueberry and is a fantastic source of fibre to aid healthy digestion. Just 1 ounce (30 grams) of the Aronia berry can provide 10% of your daily vitamin C intake, essential for boosting your body’s natural immune system and reducing your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.
This little berry is packed with health benefits and can also be bought dried or powdered making it easy to incorporate into a balanced diet. Amazingly the Aronia berry has anti-viral properties that have been shown in in-vitro testing to kill viruses such as flu and coronavirus and prevent infection!
Elderberry refers to several varieties of the Sambucus tree, but the most commonly heard of are the European Elderberry or Black Elderberry. The entire plant, including bark and leaves, has amazing antioxidant benefits that make it a fantastic medicinal plant. Although lesser known to the wider population, these super berries have been used in folk medicine for years as a natural treatment for influenza, infections and as pain relief.
Their high fibre content means they are great for maintaining your digestive health and 100g of the fruit contains a whopping 60% of your daily vitamin C intake. The Elderberry has quite a sharp taste and must be cooked to be eaten, as raw elderberries can lead to an upset stomach. But, these immune system-boosting berries can still be cooked into tasty syrups, jams and wines or bought over the counter as handy cold-curing capsules, lozenges or gummies.
3. Haskap Berry
This edible member of the Honeysuckle family is another super berry that deserves to be spoken about. The Haskap Berry is likened to the blueberry for its colour but is a long oval shape, containing three times as many antioxidants and four times the number of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant pigments that give them their deep colouring and contain amazing health benefits such as, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and cardioprotective properties.
Their sweet and tangy flavour makes them a great addition to your juices, jams or condiments and as with most super berries they can be bought in powdered form to quickly sprinkle onto any dish. Although not a commonly known berry worldwide, the Haskap has been used medicinally for years in its native countries Japan, China and Russia to treat high blood pressure, heart attacks, eye and gastrointestinal diseases.
The Salmonberry is a member of the raspberry and wild strawberry family, native to the west coast of North America. This delectable and health-packed berry gained its name by being traditionally pickled and served with dried salmon by its Native American discoverers, as part of a nutrient-dense meal. A great source of Vitamin C, the antioxidant-rich berry is great for keeping your immune system on top form. The Salmonberry also contains high levels of vitamin K, which your body needs for blood clotting and helping wounds to heal, 100g of the fruit will give you 18% of your recommended daily intake.
If you are concerned about eye health, this powerful berry is also a great source of vitamin A that is known for protecting the eyes from conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. The entire plant has been used medicinally for years and the Eskimo people have boiled the bark to create an infused water that eases labour pains for women in childbirth. Worldwide it is now more commonly made into jams and jellies and can be infused into a healthy tea to easily incorporate into a balanced diet.
5. Sea Buckthorn
Known as the “Holy Fruit of the Himalayas”, Sea Buckthorn has been long used in traditional herbal medicine from China to ancient Greece to improve digestive, heart and liver health. Containing high levels of essential antioxidants, this berry is packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin E that not only builds a healthy immune system but maintains healthy skin and eyes. it is also thought to be a great anti-inflammatory and can fight harmful metabolic syndromes thanks to its naturally occurring fatty acids, omegas 3,6,9 and 7.
Available in handy supplement forms this healthy fruit can also be cooked and added to jams, pies and drinks to produce a natural remedy for arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. As well as its edible uses, extracts have been used from Sea Buckthorn to create oils that topically treat eczema, acne and prevent ageing. This super fruit can keep your body healthy inside and out.
We hope this list inspires you to add some of these healthy fruits into your diet and help bring their powerful health-boosting properties into the spotlight. It has never been more important to make sure that your immune system is functioning at its best, and the versatility of these berries makes it easier than ever to do that!