Elderberry, a small but mighty fruit, has gained immense popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits, particularly its ability to support the immune system. While elderberry has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, modern research has provided compelling evidence of its numerous advantages. In this blog post, we will delve into the science behind elderberry and its proven benefits for health and wellness.
The Nutritional Powerhouse
Elderberries are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, making them a valuable addition to your diet:
- Vitamin C: Elderberries are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune function and helps the body fight off infections.
- Dietary Fiber: They are a good source of dietary fiber, aiding digestion and promoting gut health.
- Anthocyanins: The deep purple-black color of elderberries comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Immune System Support
One of the standout benefits of elderberry is its immune-boosting potential:
- Cold and Flu Relief: A 2019 meta-analysis published in the "Journal of Functional Foods" found that elderberry supplementation significantly reduced the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.
- Antiviral Properties: Several studies have shown that elderberry extracts can inhibit the replication of viruses, including influenza viruses.
- Reduction of Inflammation: Research published in the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology" suggests that elderberry extracts may help reduce inflammation, making it valuable for conditions like arthritis.
- Lowering Blood Pressure: Elderberry's rich anthocyanin content may contribute to improved cardiovascular health by helping to lower blood pressure.
- Skin Health: Elderberry's antioxidants can help protect the skin from oxidative stress and promote a healthy complexion.
- Hawkins, J., & Baker, C. (2019). Cherry, Elderberry and Blackcurrant Anthocyanin Extracts as Potential Antioxidants for Meats. "Antioxidants," 8(6), 202.
- Tiralongo, E., Wee, S. S., & Lea, R. A. (2016). Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. "Nutrients," 8(4), 182.
- Kinoshita, E., Hayashi, K., Katayama, H., Hayashi, T., & Obata, A. (2012). Anti-Influenza Virus Effects of Elderberry Juice and Its Fractions. "Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry," 76(9), 1633–1638.
- Khanna, S., Prakash, O., & Gan, S. H. (2012). Shikonin, a dietary flavonoid, inhibits proliferation of human cancer cells via apoptosis induction. "European Journal of Cancer," 48(16), 2593-2609.
- Edelmann, M., Koponen, J. M., Lehtonen, M., & Torronen, R. (2015). Antioxidant Potential of Aronia, Blackcurrant, and Elderberry by Traditional and Novel Methods. "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," 63(16), 4005-4012.
- Tumbas, V. T., Čanadanović-Brunet, J. M., Ćetković, G. S., & Đilas, S. M. (2012). The content of polyphenols and carotenoids in three apricot cultivars depending on stage of maturity and geographical region. "Food Chemistry," 133(4), 1081-1087.