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bilberry shaped like an eye with supplements

15 Healthy Reasons We Love Bilberry Eyes

For centuries several parts of the bilberry bush have been used medicinally for digestion, oral and respiratory health.

During WWII British pilots credited their sharp vision and accuracy during nighttime bombings to the bilberry jam they consumed at teatime. Though research is needed, the use of bilberry for vision support has remained, making it one of the most popular supplements in the herbal industry.

In This Healthy Insight:

  1. What is Bilberry?
  2. Traditional Use of Bilberry
  3. 15 Fun Facts about Vision
  4. Where to Buy Bilberry and How to Incorporate it into Your Daily Routine
  5. Bilberry, Extracts, and Supplements
  6. Other Tips for Vision and Circulation

What is Bilberry (vaccinium myrtillus)?

Related to the blueberry and cranberry, bilberry is a shrub with thick leaves which bear a dark blue-red fruit. Bilberry is native to Europe and the British Isles and flourishes in damp acidic soil. It is also known as black hearts, huckleberry or whortleberry. Bilberries were often eaten fresh or made into jams, pies and juices and even used as a fabric dye. Bilberries are low in calories and deliver naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Traditional Use of Bilberry

Today we know that bilberries, like other berries, contain anthocyanosides, an antioxidant from plants that may be responsible for their health benefits. These antioxidants have traditionally been valued for fighting free radicals and specifically for the following health concerns:

Showing the Bilberry Plant

 15 Fun Facts about Vision

  1. The colored part of your eye, the iris has 256 unique characteristics; your fingerprint has just 40.
  2. Brown is the most common eye color.
  3. Blue-eyed people share a common ancestor with every other blue-eyed person in the world. 
  4. 80 percent of learning comes through your eyes.
  5. You’re likely to blink more often when talking and much less when staring at a screen.
  6. Your eyes can distinguish about 10 million colors.
  7. It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  8. Only a small part (about 1/6) of your eyeball is visible.
  9. Rods allow you to see shapes, while cones detect color.
  10. Blood sugar and blood pressure issues can be detected during an annual eye exam.
  11. Contact lenses cannot be “lost” in your eyeball.
  12. Your eyes produce fewer natural tears as you age.
  13. Half of the human brain is dedicated to vision and seeing. 
  14. People read about 25% slower on a screen than on paper. 
  15. You actually see with your brain.

Where to Buy Bilberry and How to Incorporate into Your Daily Routine

You can replace any recipe calling for blueberries with fresh or dried bilberry. Add them to smoothies, pancakes, yogurt, salads, oatmeal, muffins, cereal, or trail mixes. Mash them up to make a jam. You may even find it in syrups or liqueurs.

Bilberry and bilberry extracts are available in powder, juice, tea, liquids or supplement form. In an extract form, be sure it’s standardized to deliver 25 percent anthocyanins.

Adding Bilberry to a smoothie

Bilberry, Extracts and Supplements

  • Tablets – easy to swallow
  • Extract – potent standardized form typically in a tablet or capsule
  • Liquid extract – add to a beverage or take by the spoonful
  • Tea – steep hot or cold
  • Cough drops – soothing, convenient lozenge

Other Tips for Vision and Circulation

  • Stop smoking
  • Stay hydrated
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule – while using your computer, every 20 minutes focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • Sit less, stand more
  • Exercise
  • Use compression socks
  • Eat more veggies and fruits
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Wear UV sunglasses
  • Stay current with eye exams and doctor visits
  • Take a bath to renew circulation
Where to buy bilberry products

If you haven’t tried bilberry, you may want to check it out. There’s a reason it’s been so popular for so long. It could be right for you too, but be sure to check with your doctor before making any changes.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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