For the first time this summer I was introduced to the Haskap berry, also known as Blue Honeysuckle and Honey Berry. My neighbor has large very fruitful Haskap bushes, and she so kindly handed me over a bowl full of berries to try. These delicious, tangy but refreshing berries, are the color of blueberries with an oval shape. They have a very juicy inside flesh, which gives the fruit a “melt-in-your-mouth” quality. Curious about the health benefits, I did some research, and this is what I found.
Haskap berries have been consumed by the indigenous Ainu people from Japan for centuries and are thought to contribute to their life longevity. They refer to Haskap berries as the “fruit of longevity” and the “fruit of vision” due to the following benefits.
- High in Anthocyanins
Rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, Haskap berries help to reduce risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer, chronic inflammation, infection, and cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanin-rich berries also benefit eyes are and associated with good night vision.
- High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also an antioxidant, helps to form and maintain connective tissue like skin and bones. Additionally, vitamin C is an important nutrient for improving immune function. 100 grams of Haskap berries contains 60% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake.
- Excellent source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is important for normal vision, immune system, reproduction and growth and development. Vitamin A also helps your heart, lungs and other organs work properly.
- Excellent source of Potassium
Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps maintain fluid levels inside your cells. Potassium also helps muscles to contract and supports normal blood pressure.
- High in Fiber
Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar and improves gut health by improving the microbiome (millions of bacteria essential for digestion and immune system). Ensuring adequate amounts of fiber in your diet reduces your risk of chronic disease.
If you are doing some landscaping this summer and need something to plant, or if you are at the farmers market and are interested in trying something new, why not give Haskap berries a try? You may find a new favorite fruit, and you’ll get to reap some pretty cool health benefits in the meantime!