Known in the science world as sambucus, elderberries the type of elderberries that we’re the most familiar with are the black ones that are often confused sometimes with blackberries and blueberries. The taste is quite different from other berries, however, as elderberries can have a range of tastes, with some saying that they’re tart while others might describe elderberries as being bitter.
Picking the right elderberries make for a great addition to any diet, as they provide some fantastic health benefits. What’s great is that elderberries can be used in a lot of different ways, including in teas and as an extract that’s found in supplements. No matter which way you’re getting elderberries in your diet, you’re doing yourself a huge favor. To show you why, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of elderberries and the proven health benefits you’ll see.
Nutrition of Elderberries
If you eat an entire cup of elderberries, you don’t add too many calories to your day with only around 100 per serving. That serving contains one gram of protein, but more importantly there’s over 40 percent of your daily recommendation for fiber. Elderberries certainly aren’t lacking in vitamins, either, delivering almost 90 percent of your daily value of vitamin C and 17 percent of both your daily vitamin A and vitamin B6.
Coming in at just under 10 percent of the daily recommendation includes other vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. As for the minerals, elderberries have more than 10 percent of your daily iron and potassium. Around five percent includes minerals like calcium, phosphorus, copper and magnesium. In trace amounts, elderberries contain folate, zinc and selenium. Lastly, there’s under one gram of fat in each serving of elderberries with no cholesterol or unsaturated fats, with a mixture of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Doctors suggest that you take in 25 to 30 grams of fiber on a daily basis, and that doesn’t even include supplements. Foods contain dietary fiber, which is different than what you get from supplements, and elderberries are a great way to make sure that you hit your daily fiber goal. At more than 40 percent of your daily recommendation, you can almost instantly feel the difference when you eat elderberries on a consistent basis.
Adding more fiber to your diet introduces probiotics, which help your digestive system by removing harmful bacteria. You’ll even see some quick changes to the way you feel, as getting enough fiber can relieve many different problems that include diarrhea, constipation, irregularity and gas. Fiber has also been linked to a reduction in your chances of colon cancer, with studies saying that you can reduce your chances by 40 percent.
There’s one more benefit that fiber brings that a lot of people don’t think about. While obviously counting calories to make sure that you’re exerting more than you take in is where you’ll lose weight, you can boost your weight loss through eating more fiber. Fiber makes your digestive system work more efficiently so that you can burn more calories, leading to burning more fat. Not only that, but fiber also helps you feel more full throughout the day so you can avoid those diet wrecking cravings.
Of course, the low calorie amount in elderberries certainly doesn’t hurt as there are only about 100 in each serving. If you replace a 200 calorie snack with a serving of elderberries, you’re saving enough calories in each year to lose 10 pounds even if you don’t make any other caloric adjustments to your diet. Saving 100 calories a day doesn’t sound like much, but it will add up quickly over time.
When you want to boost your immune system or even get through an illness like the common cold, you usually turn to vitamin C. Elderberries are a great way of getting your necessary vitamin C since there’s 90 percent of your daily recommendation, and you can’t have too much as your body will naturally get rid of any excess amount. Getting more vitamin C creates more white blood cells that fight off foreign invaders and help in many other ways, as well.
Elderberries are packed with antioxidants to prevent serious diseases, and have properties that can reduce the amount of carcinogens in your body. When antioxidants are at work, they fight off free radicals that could be attacking your cells, which is how cancer is formed and spreads. Extract from elderberries has been shown in studies to prevent cancer formation, due to inhibiting an enzyme that’s linked to cancer.
Whether you’re stuffed up and struggling to breathe because of the cold or any other issues, elderberries may be able to help. In addition to the immune boost to get rid of an illness, elderberries can reduce allergy symptoms by causing your immune system to go into overdrive. Studies have found elderberries can get you through a headache, stuffy nose and other problems that are linked to allergies.
For those of us that suffer with regular sinus infections, you might want to turn to elderberries to get through them. Elderberries can wipe out viruses and reduce inflammation, getting you through these infections much faster. Make sure to keep your kleenex handy, as your body will be able to stimulate phlegm production to clear out your respiratory system and leave you breathing easier.
Free radicals that we mentioned that attack your cells not only cause serious diseases, but they can also alter your appearance. Free radicals can ravage your skin cells, causing wrinkles, spots and other signs of aging. The antioxidants in elderberries will make sure that your skin is looking younger, while adding enough vitamin C to allow your body to produce more natural collagen. The boost of vitamin A also gives your skin a more natural glowing appearance, making for a great 1-2 punch for skin health.
Summing it Up
Just like any food, there are some things that you have to look out for when it comes to eating elderberries. There are some people that might be allergic to these berries, and women that are pregnant or nursing should make sure with their doctor that there won’t be any negative interactions. Outside of that, you’ll want to make sure that the elderberries you eat are completely ripened, especially if you eat them raw.
Raw and unripe elderberries have been shown to cause digestive problems, though they tend to be temporary. Lastly, those with an autoimmune disease should avoid elderberries in most cases. Doctors say that the boost in your immune system could cause some unwanted side effects, so it’s easier to just stay away from elderberries. If you don’t fall into any of these categories, there aren’t any known side effects, meaning that you’re free to enjoy the great taste and health benefits that you get from adding elderberries to your diet!