Elderberry: Health Benefits
In the winter months, as it gets colder and wetter, you want to avoid getting sick by supporting your immune system as much as possible. Cold and flu season in the UK is typically between December and March, though you can catch catch the flu or get a cold anytime between October and May, which means you have a chance of getting sick most of the year.
To avoid this, you should be proactive about supporting and boosting your immune system. With advice from nutritional supplement brand, Viridian, we look at one of the small but powerful foods that can help you stay healthy during colder months: Elderberry.
What Does Elderberry Contain That Is So Beneficial?
Elderberries, like all foods, contain a combination of nutrients and micronutrients that can be used in the body. There are three valuable nutrients in elderberries that are key to maintaining a strong immune system and staying healthy.
- Vitamin C
Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs)
Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are incredibly important for the body as they assist in fighting infections and removing toxins. OPCs on their own make elderberries a valuable food to have in your diet.
Vitamin C is key to robust cells, ensuring strong bones, cartilage and well-functioning blood vessels. It's also an antioxidant and directly supports the cells which make up your immune system. Without enough vitamin C, your body becomes vulnerable to colds and flu.
Zinc plays an important role in the immune system, bolstering the cells that first respond to new infections. Without zinc, our cells would have a much harder time beating viruses and our immune systems wouldn't be able to combat infections.
Elderberry & Immune Systems
Elderberry is a superfood, meaning it has a number of health benefits, including improved vision, lower cholesterol and reduced inflammation, alongside immune system support. With regard to immune system support, elderberry interacts with the cells of our bodies in three main ways:
- Elderberry stops viruses from attaching to cells
- Elderberry limits virus replication
- Elderberry stimulates white blood cells which fight viruses
All of these make elderberry the perfect immune system booster that will help you avoid getting a cold or flu, and aid recovery when you do succumb.
Studies have shown how elderberry (and the nutrients they contain) impact viruses and their symptoms. A 2016 study found that OPCs (present in elderberries) reduced cold symptoms.
Another study, which looked specifically at the impact of elderberry lozenges, discovered that they provided relief from the symptoms of a cold, namely coughing, congestion and nasal mucus.
How To Take Elderberry (To Combat Cold & Flu)
There are numerous ways to take elderberry in order to gain i's virus fighting effects. If you are tempted to go straight to the source, be aware that raw elderberries are poisonous and they can only be consumed once cooked – which is why many choose to opt for one of the other forms for convenient consumption.
A 90mg daily dose of elderberry in a supplement is considered an excellent way of preventing cold and flu and aiding a speedier recovery.
We recommend: Viridian Organic Elderberry Extract 100ml
It is advisable that you make sure your elderberry supplement is organic and free from preservatives and sugars in order to maintain its effectiveness and to avoid ingesting anything unnecessary.
If you are dealing with a sore throat as part of your cold or flu, you may find relief with an elderberry throat spray. Throat sprays are often used for dry throats too as a way to calm inflammation and soreness. Viridian's elderberry throat spray also contains manuka honey, which is great for offering this soothing effect.
We recommend: Viridian 100% Organic Elderberry Throat Spray 50ml
Elderberry syrup can be taken by the whole family. For those who have trouble swallowing tablets or who prefer a liquid form that can be dosed to the exact amount suited to their needs, we recommend elderberry syrup.
We recommend: Pukka Elderberry Syrup 100ml
Last but not least is elderberry tea. Getting plenty of liquids, especially water, is vital to maintaining a healthy body and is especially important when trying to recover from illness. Teas often come in combined flavours, such as elderberry with echinacea, which doubles the immune boosting properties. Elderberry tea is a great choice for supporting your immune system, while keeping you hydrated and on the path to recovery from cold and flu.
We recommend: Pukka Elderberry and Echinacea Tea Bags 80
This article is for information purposes and does not refer to any individual products. The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.
Note: This article was checked at the time of writing, for accuracy and legislative compliance as suitable for release to the general public. If you choose to add images, links or further copy to this article then it is your responsibility to comply with claims regulations.