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Haskap Berries

What Are Haskap Berries?

Haskap berries, scientifically known as Lonicera caerulea, are delicious blue honeysuckle fruits that grow naturally in the boreal forests and wet regions of various countries in the northern hemisphere, including Canada, Japan, and Russia.

These berries have an oval-rectangular shape, resembling elongated blueberries. Each haskap berry contains two twin purple-blue berries wrapped in an outer purple-blue skin, with vibrant crimson flesh. They have a unique flavour profile, described as a delightful blend of tangy and sweet. Haskap berries grow on deciduous leafy bushes and exhibit exceptional resilience to survive harsh, freezing winters.

Where do Haskap Berries come from?

Haskap berries are believed to have originated in the wilderness of Siberia and were later carried by birds to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido named the berry "haskap," which means "many things (fruits) on branches."

Over time, haskap berries have been cultivated as an agricultural crop in various regions worldwide, including Canada and Eastern Europe. It is worth noting that haskap berries were officially registered as a Traditional Food in the European Union in 2018. These berries are also known by other names such as honeyberry, blue honeysuckle, and sweet berry honeysuckle.

Traditional Medicinal Uses of Haskap Berries

Haskap berries have a long history of traditional medicinal use in Japan, Russia, and China. They have been utilised to reduce the risk of hypertension and heart attacks, as well as for the treatment of various medical conditions such as inflammation and liver problems.

Benefits of Haskap Berries

Long regarded for their nutritional content, he Ainu people, in particular, regarded haskap berries as "the elixir of life" and a berry known for promoting good eyesight.

Unique Nutritional Composition of Haskap Berries

High in Antioxidants: Haskap berries are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which are potent compounds that help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

High-Vitamin C: Haskap berries boast high levels of Vitamin C, with published values of up to 186mg/100g. Additionally, they contain one of the highest concentrations of anthocyanins among all berries. Anthocyanins are natural plant pigments responsible for the deep purple, blue, and red colours found in fruits.

Anti-inflammatory properties: The anthocyanins and other bioactive compounds present in Haskap berries have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms associated with conditions like arthritis.

Cardiovascular health: Haskap berries may contribute to heart health due to their high levels of anthocyanins, which have been associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They may help lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel function, and reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.

Immune system support: Haskap berries are a good source of Vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Consuming Haskap berries can help strengthen the immune response and protect against common illnesses.

Eye health: The antioxidants found in Haskap berries, such as anthocyanins and Vitamin C, have been linked to promoting eye health and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Digestive health: Haskap berries are a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. Adequate fibre intake is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

The takeaways

In conclusion, the nutritional composition of haskap berries is truly unique. Their high antioxidant content, particularly anthocyanins, provides powerful protection against oxidative stress and helps lower the risk of chronic diseases. Furthermore, haskap berries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, with exceptionally high levels compared to many other fruits. Their vibrant colours are a result of the abundant anthocyanins they contain. Incorporating haskap berries into your diet can be a delicious way to enhance your antioxidant intake and enjoy their numerous health benefits.

Recommended For

Haemorrhoids (piles) , Constipation , Eye Health , Immune Boosting Foods , Cardiovascular Health / Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

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