Nothing gives your age away quicker than the appearance of your skin. But with factors like sunlight and pollution to contend with, trying to keep your skin youthful-looking and line free is no easy task.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of a brand-new organic health drink, which draws on traditional natural remedies for promoting healthy, radiant-looking skin and warding off wrinkles.
But that’s not all…
Nordic Forest Pine Bark and Berry – which combines pine bark extract, wild lingonberries and bilberries in powder form to create a delicious daily health drink when added to water or juice – also helps guard against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and eyesight problems.
Pine bark helps prevent wrinkles, high cholesterol and hypertension
Pine bark is a rich source of natural chemicals known as proanthocyanidins. These flavonoids make up the pigments that provide flavour, colour and aroma to many plants and fruits. They have been found to rejuvenate and protect the skin; improve cardiovascular health (by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ‘bad’ cholesterol, increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ‘good’ cholesterol, and reducing high blood pressure); and lower fasting glucose levels.1
When it comes to pine bark’s skin-protective properties, research has shown that it can significantly reduce ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced reddening of the skin2, prevent UVR damage to the skin, reduce photo-ageing and lessen the pigmentation in age spots.3
In addition, the proanthocyanidins found in pine bark benefit skin health by reinforcing the collagen matrix of connective tissue, protecting against free radical damage, and inhibiting collagen damage caused by inflammation and infection. They also help hydrate and oxygenate the skin, assist with toxin removal, and enhance the generation of nitric oxide, which encourages the dilation of blood vessels for optimal blood flow and healthy-looking skin.4
Better still, proanthocyanidins also stimulate the body to produce hyaluronic acid (HA), which plays an important role in water retention, wound healing and smoothing out wrinkled skin.
In one study, skin samples that were treated with pine bark extract showed a remarkable 44 per cent increase in HA and a similarly large increase in mRNA – which is necessary for collagen synthesis. As a result, skin hydration was enhanced and dry skin showed an average increase in hydration of 21 per cent. In addition, a significant beneficial result was seen in skin elasticity, and there was a 3 per cent reduction in wrinkles and an increase in skin smoothness.5
Research has shown that pine bark can also be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.1 In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 48 individuals with type 2 diabetes and hypertension took pine bark or a placebo for 12 weeks. Fifty-eight per cent of those taking pine bark found their blood pressure stabilised.6 LDL cholesterol also improved significantly in the treatment group.
Taking pine bark had a glucose-lowering effect too. It’s thought this could be a result of its inhibition of enzyme activity, resulting in reduced absorption of glucose in the intestines. Fasting glucose levels declined by four times as much in the pine bark group as they did in the control group.
Berry duo packs a powerful punch against blood sugar, heart and eye problems
Bilberry and lingonberry are considered the most important wild berry plants in the forests of Nordic countries. Both berries have traditionally been used as herbal medicines for their anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic and retina-protective properties.7 Emerging research suggests they could also play a role in cardiovascular, gut and nerve health.
They’re a major dietary source of anthocyanins. Like proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins are flavonoids with numerous beneficial health properties, helping to prevent everything from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to degenerative conditions.
The berries are also chock full of polyphenols – plant chemicals that have antioxidant properties and are linked to preventing cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.8,9,10 Lingonberries contain a particularly high level of antioxidants compared with most commonly consumed berries.11
It is the berries’ potent antioxidant action that is thought to be largely responsible for their ability to improve vision and ward off serious eye-related problems such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
A recent laboratory study investigated the protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against UV-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage, through free radical activity. Cells treated with the berry extracts showed a significant resistance to UV damage. Bilberry extract was also found to bring about significant improvements in patients suffering from dry eye syndrome, a chronic condition that can adversely affect vision.12
The berries could also provide crucial cardiovascular protection by counteracting free radical generation, reducing inflammation and boosting the production of blood pressure-lowering nitric oxide.
A 2016 study found that men and women consuming 150g of frozen bilberries three times a week, for six weeks, experienced reductions in a number of cardiovascular risk factors.13 Consumption of bilberries has been found to result in a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and circulating glucose, and a positive increase in HDL cholesterol.14
What to take for best results
Stir one level teaspoon (1.5g) of Nordic Forest Pine Bark and Berry powder into water or juice for a delicious-tasting, daily, health-boosting drink. Each 30g jar contains 20 servings.
Contraindications: There are no known side effects, but Nordic Forest Pine Bark and Berry should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding; and you are advised to seek medical advice if you’re taking an anticoagulant such as warfarin.