Elderberry Benefits That Will Blow Your Mind

Elderberry Benefits

If you’re passionate about your health and fitness, you’re probably always on the lookout for new healthy foods that you can include in your diet. It’s important to consume the proper balance of macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as all of the right micronutrients, which include a huge variety of vitamins and minerals. 

There are certain foods that make it easy to hit these targets within your typical meals, reducing your need for expensive supplements that take all of the fun out of getting your daily dose of nutrients. Some of these foods would even be considered “superfoods” based on their significantly high nutritional content. 

Elderberry is one of these foods, and if you’re looking for a new and delicious way to improve your health on a daily basis, you’ve come to the right place.

Table of contents:

What Is Elderberry?

Elderberry is a small fruit that’s dark purple in color and is known to have a wide variety of health benefits. 

Even if you’ve never heard of elderberry before, that doesn’t mean elderberry benefits are new; in fact, history suggests that the elderberry plant has been used in many cultures throughout the past several centuries, possibly spanning as far back as prehistoric times. 

The elderberry grows from the Sambucus nigra tree, which is native to many continents, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The tree typically grows in woodland areas and features white flowers in addition to the deep purple berries during harvesting season.

History of Elderberries and the Sambucus Tree

The history of elderberry benefits and uses goes as far back as prehistoric humans, but the first solid evidence of elderberry playing a medicinal role in society was in ancient Egyptian culture. 

Medicinal use of elderberry is also directly linked to Hippocrates, a legendary figure from ancient Greece who is often referred to as the “Father of Medicine.” According to recorded history, Hippocrates described elderberry as his “medicine chest” due to its long list of health benefits and its powerful ability to fight disease. 

Thanks to the advancement of modern medicine, elderberry alone is no longer used as a treatment for illness. However, the many scientific studies surrounding elderberry benefits suggest that including this fruit in a healthy, varied diet could support some very positive health effects.

How Elderberry Benefits a Healthy Lifestyle

Consuming enough vitamins and minerals on a daily basis is crucial for supporting your body’s many internal systems. Additionally, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can help to prevent disease and injury. 

Each elderberry is packed with a variety of nutritional compounds, but elderberry benefits are even greater when the fruit is consumed in larger servings.

Elderberry Nutrition Facts

One cup is typically considered to be the standard serving size for elderberries. This serving size contains 26.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and 0.7 grams of fat, all of which are important parts of a balanced diet. 

One of the most significant elderberry benefits when it comes to nutrition is its vitamin C content at roughly 52 milligrams per cup. Other vitamins and minerals found in elderberries include vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron. 

The dietary fiber content of a serving of elderberry is also noteworthy at around 10 grams, which can help to support a healthy digestive system.

All About Elderberry: Taste, Texture, and How to Enjoy It

The many elderberry benefits are a great bonus, but what about the fruit’s taste and texture? First and foremost, you shouldn’t eat elderberry before it reaches its peak ripeness at a deep purple or blue color. Not only will the taste be unpleasant, but it is hazardous to your health, as raw elderberry contains a toxin that causes nausea and vomiting. 

Once you’ve got ripe elderberry to try (or some fresh elderberry juice), you’ll notice that this fruit has a tasty balance between tartness and earthiness with a hint of subtle sweetness. Since elderberry isn’t overly sweet on its own, it mixes very well with other fruits to create a well-rounded flavor profile.

What Forms Does Elderberry Come In?

Elderberries are delicate, which means they can be difficult to find in stores due to the challenge of transporting them. However, you may be able to find fresh elderberries in certain health food stores, depending on where you live.

Elderberry comes in a variety of forms however, including:

  • Juice: Elderberry juice is a popular form of the supplement, often taken as a daily tonic or as a remedy for cold and flu symptoms
  • Capsules: Elderberry capsules are a convenient way to take the supplement, as they are easy to swallow and can be taken on-the-go.
  • Syrup: Elderberry syrup is a popular form of the supplement, often taken as a remedy for cold and flu symptoms. It is typically made with elderberry juice, honey, and other ingredients.
  • Lozenges: Elderberry lozenges are a convenient way to take the supplement, as they dissolve in the mouth and can be taken on-the-go.
  • Gummies: Elderberry gummies are a convenient way to take the supplement, as they are easy to swallow and can be taken on-the-go.
  • Tincture: Elderberry tincture is a liquid extract of the elderberry plant. It is typically taken as a remedy for cold and flu symptoms.
  • Dried elderberries: Dried elderberries can be used for making teas, syrups, and other remedies.
  • Fresh elderberries: Fresh elderberries can be used for making jams, syrups, and other remedies.

Best Ways to Consume Elderberry

Pressed juices are often the best way to consume elderberries since they offer all the health benefits of this fruit in its purest form while mixing with other delicious fruits for a great taste. However, elderberry also makes a great base for jellies, syrups, and gummies and can even be purchased as an extract or capsule. 

Additionally, elderberries can be a great addition to baked goods like muffins, cookies, or breads. The dough’s sweetness can mix well with the earthiness and tartness of the berry, creating a satisfying result that is just as good for you as it is delicious.  

How to Store Elderberry

To store elderberries, you should first make sure they are clean and dry. If they are not, gently rinse them and pat them dry with a clean towel. Once they are dry, you can store them in a few different ways.

The first option is to store them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to a week. To do this, place the berries in a sealable container or plastic bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible.

Another option is to freeze the elderberries, which will allow them to keep for up to a year. To freeze, spread the berries out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or a plastic freezer bag.

It’s important to note that if you are storing elderberries for consumption, it’s better to cook them before consuming as raw elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Combine Elderberry with Other Superfoods for Optimal Health

The term “superfood” isn’t a specific scientific marker but a label given to foods that naturally pack a significant amount of nutrients and health benefits into each serving. That’s why most superfoods are fruits or vegetables, and elderberries are often included in this category. 

Since juice form is one of the best ways to consume elderberry, it’s easy to mix this nutrient-packed fruit with a variety of other superfoods within a fresh cold-pressed juice, including beet juice, spirulina, maca root, ginger, or even celery juice

Another great way to combine elderberry with a superfood is by blending it with acai purée to make a delicious and nutritious acai bowl. Top the bowl with berries, nuts, and some spirulina or maca root powder, and you’ve got a superfood-packed meal!

Can I Still Gain Elderberry Benefits with a Sensitive Digestive System?

Due to the high acidity content, elderberry can cause slight irritation in your gut if you tend to have a sensitive digestive system, especially when consumed on its own. That’s why it’s best to mix small amounts of elderberry with less acidic fruits in a juice or smoothie or even mask the acidity in a baked goods recipe. 

Additionally, if you simply don’t prefer the taste of elderberry, you can still receive all of the best elderberry benefits by taking it as a supplement.

Are There Any Elderberry Side Effects?

Elderberry is generally safe for otherwise healthy people to consume in moderate amounts. However, unripe or raw berries can cause unwanted symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s best to consume the fruit blended in a juice or smoothie or cooked into a meal. 

Most doctors will caution pregnant or breastfeeding women against consuming more than trace amounts of elderberry. Additionally, if you consume it and notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as rashes, trouble breathing, or nausea, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Immunosuppressants Elderberry May Effect

It is important to note that elderberry may interact with certain medications, particularly immunosuppressants.

These are some immunosuppressants that may be effected by elderberry:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine
  • Mycophenolate
  • Sirolimus (Rapamune)
  • Tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Belatacept (Nulojix)
  • Everolimus (Afinitor, Zortress)
  • Basiliximab (Simulect)
  • Daclizumab (Zenapax)
  • Tocilizumab (Actemra)
  • Rituximab (Rituxan)
  • Abatacept (Orencia)
  • Anakinra (Kineret)
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
  • Golimumab (Simponi)
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

When taken together with elderberry, these medications can cause the immune system to become overactive, leading to an increased risk of infection. Additionally, elderberry may decrease the effectiveness of these medications, making them less able to control the immune response.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list so you should always talk to your healthcare provider before taking elderberry if you are taking any immunosuppressants. They can advise you on the best course of action for you and whether or not you should avoid elderberry.

Top Elderberry Benefits for Health and Wellness

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about what elderberry tastes like and how to enjoy it within your meals, it’s time to dive into the specific elderberry benefits that you could be reaping by including this nutritional powerhouse in your regular diet.

Supports the Immune System

In past generations, elderberry syrups, juices, and extracts have been used as home treatment methods for the common cold, flu, and other viral illnesses. As modern medicine has progressed, it’s more common to rely on over-the-counter medications to relieve your symptoms when you’re dealing with a virus. 

However, studies suggest that elderberry could have slight antiviral properties that could help prevent the body from developing an illness, relieve the symptoms during illness, or shorten the duration of illness. The high antioxidant content is one of the biggest contributors to elderberry’s antiviral properties.

Improves Digestion

In order to keep your digestive system working properly, it’s important to consume a certain amount of dietary fiber each day. Though dietary fiber is present in many common foods we eat, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, you may need to increase your fiber intake if you’re having digestive issues. 

A single serving of elderberry packs a whopping 10 grams of fiber, making it a quick and easy way to increase your intake and get your digestion back on track. Not only will your digestion feel smoother throughout the day’s meals, but you’ll also be able to stay regular.

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is an underrated yet harmful health issue that can lead to various ailments. Many ailments have inflammation at the root, including chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, fatigue, and cardiovascular issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. 

Several factors can cause inflammation, but free radicals, or unstable molecules left to run rampant throughout the body, are a very well-known cause.   

One of the most important elderberry benefits is the high antioxidant content in every serving, which helps your body to fight against harmful free radicals and reduce inflammation throughout your body.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Spikes in blood sugar occur whenever you eat a meal, and if you have healthy blood sugar activity, the levels will simply go back down over time. However, if you have issues with low or high blood sugar or have been diagnosed with anemia or diabetes, you may struggle to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level throughout the day. 

Elderberry is not considered to be an official medical treatment for blood sugar issues. However, research suggests that elderberries can exhibit insulin-like behaviors in the body by helping increase glucose oxidation and regulate blood sugar levels.

Helps Reduce Risk of Cancer

Though more research is needed, promising studies have shown that regular consumption of elderberry could have certain chemopreventive properties, which means it could lower your risk of developing cancer. 

This is mostly due to the fruit’s high levels of anthocyanins, polyphenolics, and flavonoids, which are all types of antioxidants that can reduce your levels of free radicals and potentially lower your risk of disease. These studies mostly surround European elderberry benefits, and more study is needed regarding American elderberry.

Could Help Prevent Heart Disease

There are many different strategies to use when trying to support good heart health. Though regular exercise, a generally healthy diet, and keeping smoking and drinking to a minimum are some of the best ways to do so, including superfoods like elderberry could have heart health-boosting effects as well. 

One study found that elderberry extract helped reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve good cholesterol function in mice, and researchers believe that this is due to the anthocyanins found in elderberry. However, more research is needed to see elderberry’s specific effects on the heart health of humans.

How Do Elderberry Benefits Compare to Other Superfoods?

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about the specific benefits of elderberry, you may be wondering how this nutritious fruit compares to other foods that have earned the title of “superfood.” The list of superfoods is long, and the items on it are included for various reasons. 

When choosing the right superfoods to include in your diet, you should start with your priorities and choose based on that. If you’d like to increase your fiber intake and boost your overall health markers with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, elderberry is a great fruit to add to your roster! 

If you have other goals, such as clearing your skin, increasing your protein intake, or reducing stress, you may want to include other superfoods like celery juice, spirulina, or maca root. Luckily, Clean Juice makes it easy to combine all of these incredible superfoods and more into fresh, delicious juice blends!

Include More Superfoods in Your Day with Clean Juice

From customized cleanses to acai bowls and everything in between, Clean Juice makes it easy to pack all of your favorite superfoods into your daily intake while keeping it just as delicious as it is convenient and effective.