A number of studies have confirmed the health benefits and immune-boosting properties of European black elderberries, or Sambucus nigra, which are often processed into easy-to-use syrups. But what is behind these impressive health-supporting results?
For starters, elderberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit or vegetable, compounds that have unique biological properties that may improve mental/physical performance and reduce infection risk.
Elderberry juice also contains a variety of health-supporting polyphenols, most of which are a special type called anthocyanins. These compounds have also been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties like fighting free radical damage that can lead to aging and a number of diseases.
But that’s only half of the story. According to the USDA, elderberries contain substantial levels of vitamins and minerals that are known to be vital for a healthy immune system, including calcium, potassium, manganese, iron and phosphorus. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which supports digestive health.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the vitamins and minerals packed into this powerhouse natural superfood:
Vitamin C — Fresh elderberries are excellent sources of bioavailable vitamin-C, providing levels of the immune-supporting compound equal to many citrus fruits. Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is critical for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s also a strong antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses, fighting inflammation and boosting your immune system. Additionally, Vitamin C can also help improve the absorption of iron from food by converting it to a form that is easier for the body to process.
Vitamin A — Elderberries are impressive sources of vitamin-A, providing several times more than other berries such as blueberries. Vitamin A is essential for many body processes. We need it for healthy skin, our immune system, as well as good eye health and vision.
Potassium — With just over 400 milligrams per cup, elderberries qualify as a good source of potassium, ranking well above other common berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. One of the main electrolytes, potassium plays a key role in maintaining fluid balance, as well as maintaining a healthy blood pressure and heart beat.
Iron — Elderberries are an outstanding source of iron, which is essential an essential nutrient for the body to create new red blood cells, carry oxygen throughout your body, and plays a vital role in immune system function. One cup of elderberries contains 13 percent of the daily recommended iron.
Vitamin B6 — B6 is water soluble and can’t be stored in the body, making it easy to run out of B6. That’s why it’s important to consume foods that contain B6 — and elderberries are a solid source for this vital nutrient, which, among other benefits, controls levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood, which may help lower susceptibility to heart disease and stroke.
Packed with all of these health-supporting compounds, it’s easy to see why black European elderberries, or Sambucus nigra, have been used traditionally as medicine for hundreds of years.
As we as a society start to return to the wisdom of natural remedies to support our health and immune systems, we should focus on healthful natural fruits and vegetables that offer bioavailable nutrients that can be actually absorbed and used by the body. Quality products made from black elderberries are an excellent place to start.
The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.