Bilberries (vaccinium myrtillus) are a dark blue fruit, similar in appearance to blueberries but are smaller, softer and darker. Bilberries have purportedly been used for medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages, while their juice was traditionally used to dye linen and paper. Nowadays, they’re linked to various health benefits, from improved vision to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Bilberries are rich in antioxidants and research studies indicate that a compound in bilberries, anthocyanosides, appear to promote blood vessel strength which could have protective properties against forms of retinal damage in people with diabetes. Research has further found that bilberries could strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation, treat diarrhoea, prevent cell damage, help in treating retinopathy and may help lower blood glucose levels.