Although used for centuries in Asia and Europe for its highly-nutritious and medicinal profile, sea buckthorn is rather unheard of here in North America. Originating in the Himalayas, this adaptable fruit is now grown all over the world, including Canada, where we’re seeing its berries pop up in all forms from juice to jams to skincare.
What makes sea buckthorn a superfood?
This tiny yellow-orange berry is approximately one third of the size of a blueberry, yet packs 12 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange. With high amounts of protein, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (at least 190 bioactive compounds to be exact), the sea buckthorn berry is a powerful food. Touted as one of the most nutritious and vitamin-rich foods in the world and offering benefits both internally and externally, sea buckthorn is quickly becoming as popular as acai berry and pomegranate.
Read on for ways these powerful berries can keep you healthy inside and out:
1. Lose weight and fight disease
Sea buckthorn recently recently received praise from Dr. Oz as studies have shown its ability to contribute to weight loss by preventing the storage of excess fat. With weight loss also comes a decrease of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
It’s ability to lower levels of CRP (C-reactive protein), a protein associated with inflammation, has also linked sea buckthorn to reduced levels of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
2. Moisturize from the inside out
This mighty berry has a high omega fatty acid content including 3, 6, 9 and the rare 7. And although we’re still waiting for more studies on the benefits of omega 7s, when it comes to anti-inflammatory properties, the results look promising.
The regular consumption of these fatty acids helps to lubricate a dry, stagnant bowel increasing regular elimination for constipation sufferers, says Dr. Oz.
3. Get your glow on
What’s awesome about the sea buckthorn berry is its topical uses as well. The high vitamin C content makes it appealing in face creams and serums because of the compound’s collagen-forming abilities. Vitamin C keeps your skin firm, elastic, looking less wrinkled and is known for its restorative properties.
4. Calm your skin
For irritated skin, sea buckthorn can be extremely therapeutic. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation (and therefore redness), burning and itching while vitamin E helps heal skin quickly and reduce scarring.
Where to find it
The fruit’s oil can be used on its own or added to homemade blends. You can also look for sea buckthorn oil as an active ingredient in skin care products like Graydon’s Sun Cream, one of my summer favourites. It’s healing and sun protective, a must for the sunny weather.
Food-wise, sea buckthorn can be rather tart when eaten raw, so it’s often found cooked down in jams, as a syrup in baked goods or most commonly, in supplement form as a concentrated juice or capsule.
Its easiest to find sea buckthorn in supplement form, but things are beginning to change. As innovative farmers and celebrity chefs begin to plant sea buckthorn trees, we’ll soon be seeing these small fruits at more restaurants and farmers’ markets.
You can find sea buckthorn juice here (it’s great alone or as part of a smoothie), as well as in supplements and beauty products here.
Tell us, are sea buckthorn berries a part of your health and beauty routine? Let us know what products you use in the comment section below.
Tara Miller is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist. She trained at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition and has a degree in psychology from the University of Guelph, which allows her to address the challenges individuals face when it comes to everyday healthy living. Tara is the owner of the Health Hut Boutique where she offers toxic-free beauty, household and specialty food items. You can follow her blog for holistic recipes and tips at taramillernutrition.com.