FEELING guilty about overindulging over the festive period? Then eat bilberries.
The bilberry is native to Europe and looks similar to the blueberry, being its wilder and more acidic version. It is believed that eating a handful of the fruit each day could help reduce the impact of a high-fat diet.
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland found that the beneficial health effects of bilberries are due to high levels of polyphenols, a disease-fighting chemical component significantly higher in bilberries than in commercially-cultivated blueberries.
As part of the study, mice were fed a high-fat diet for a period of three months. Some of the mice were also fed either 5 per cent or 10 per cent of freeze-dried bilberries in the diet and found that the bilberries diminished the inflammatory effects of the high-fat diet, which can lead to diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Bilberries also reduced high blood pressure levels associated with fatty diets.