Elderberry benefits are a hot health topic that Connie Cheng, Gold’s Gym Wellness Director, wants to make sure you understand.
“It’s not specific foods that are beneficial, but the group of nutrients they contain,” she says. “It’s the nutrients that create the benefits.”
Here’s what makes elderberries (and other kinds of berries) good for you:
Along with boosting cognitive function, these antioxidant compounds can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. They are most abundant in berries – including black currants, elderberries, blueberries and strawberries – and their juices. Anthocyanins are also found in red and purple grapes, red wine, sweet cherries, eggplants, black plums, blood oranges and red cabbage.
Thanks to their tiny seeds, “berries have the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ for fiber content per calorie,” Cheng says. One cup of raw elderberries contains 10 grams of fiber – about a third of the daily recommended intake.
Dietary fiber can help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
This antioxidant is vital to your body’s healing process. It is required to synthesize collagen, an essential component of connective tissue that heals wounds. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron from plant-based foods.
A half-cup of raw elderberries provides 36 milligrams of Vitamin C – nearly half of the daily recommended intake. Blueberries and strawberries are also good sources.
Eat or drink them up
Many herbal tea blends contain berries. Research suggests that elderberries, in particular, help prevent cold and flu viruses from adhering to healthy cells.
Watch out for added sugars in dried berries and bottled berry juices, syrups and preserves.
Fresh or frozen, berries are a good snack on their own and a tasty addition to cereal, yogurt, salads and desserts. Remember that color matters when choosing fresh berries – look for the deepest blue or black, and the brightest red. Elderberries are a black fruit with a wine-colored juice.