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Elderberries: the new superfood?
Elderberries have long been used as a herbal remedy for a variety of different ailments. Whether it was taken as a tea, reduced into a pulp to be used as ointment or just eaten, people have used elderberries for hundreds of years in a bid to stay healthy.
Today, medical and scientific research has been investigating the benefits of elderberry when it comes to fighting off colds and flu, and boosting our immune system. Thanks to its high levels of vitamin C and influenza-fighting enzymes, this common berry could be your ticket to staying fit and healthy through the winter months.
A research project in Norway has been investigating the powers of elderberry juice (also know as Sambucus Nigra). They have found that the enzymes in the juice not only boosts the immune system, but also helps to stop the spread of the influenza virus, meaning you'll be able to fight off flu faster or avoid it completely.
A German study into the immune-boosting properties of the berry also showed positive results. Food scientists found that elderberry works by increasing the production of cytokines - unique proteins that act as messengers in the immune system to immune response time. So if you are struck down with the flu this winter, you can help speed up your recovery with this super-juice.
According to another study reported in The Journal of International Medical Research, flu patients that were given elderberry extract had a speedy recovery of just 3.1 days, compared to those given a placebo who were ill for over a week.
And it's not just flu that can be given the heave-ho with the help of elderberry. Studies at the University of Graz in Austria found that extracts help to reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is one of the major factors contributing to heart disease.
So with all these health benefits, there's no reason not to include elderberry juice or jam into your diet. For winter, this humble berry has proven itself as being a superfood when it comes to fighting off colds and flu.
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