Are you familiar with barberries? If so, well then, you’d know that these are edible red berries from the Berberis Vulgaris plant. The barberry bush is commonly found in the Middle East, Central Asia, Europe, and North Africa and was newly introduced in North America. Amazingly, experts count around 500 barberry species, some looking like tiny cranberries while others like currants but reddish in colour. Then, there’s the Oregon grape, a relative also called the same.
When you say berries, the first thing you’d have in mind will be jams and jellies, right? Barberries are no exception since they have a high pectin content. But did you know that these vitamin C-packed red fruits provide an unbelievable range of marvellous health benefits?
- Highly nourishing
Dried barberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and essential substances good for one’s health and well-being. Experts estimate that ¼ cup of dried barberries can provide the following:
- Protein – 1g
- Fat – 1g
- Carbohydrate – 18g
- Calories – 89
- Fibre – 3g
- Vit. C – 213% of the Daily Value
- Iron – 15% of the Daily Value
Likewise, trace minerals namely manganese, copper and zinc are found in barberries. These play a vital role in promoting immunity and preventing illnesses. Their vitamin C and antioxidant contents are the ones that fight against cell damage that might result in cancer and cardiovascular disease. Now, if that’s not extremely nutritious, then what is?
- Medicinal properties
Various components present in barberries are known to treat and/or manage certain health conditions. For instance, anthocyanins responsible for their bright red colour help boost heart and brain health. Berberine, acting as an antioxidant, can help combat diabetes, acne and dental infections.
As well, berberine with its anti-inflammatory properties helps minimise sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood while controlling the progression of certain types of cancer cells. Moreover, the herbs have long been used in folk medicine, to help alleviate digestive disorders that include diarrhoea, constipation, heartburn, dyspepsia and appetite loss.
- Protection against metabolic syndrome
With metabolic syndrome, it means being exposed to a cluster of various factors that increase your risk for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, among others. Other risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood sugar as well as high blood pressure levels and triglycerides. According to health experts, consuming dried barberries may give you protection against these health conditions.
Barberries can be used in many different ways. While these can be eaten fresh or dried, some people like to make juice or tea out of the fruits. Rice dishes and salads will surely have a unique flavour with the berries in them. Likewise, they come in supplemental forms if the raw ones are unavailable – liquid extracts, ointments, dried capsules, even in gel form made out of whole berries or else, berberine extract.
To get the most possible health benefits, use whole, fresh or dried berries when cooking. Don’t know where to buy dried barberries? Click this link.