Sea buckthorn products are becoming increasingly popular, but the sea buckthorn berry has a history of thousands of years. In fact, there are mentions in the history of its use by the soldiers and their horses going back to Alexander the Great and the Mongolian Empire.
Today, we know that sea buckthorn and products made of it became popular mainly because of the exceptional nutritional value of this berry. Below, we review the most common sea buckthorn products in the market, and we highlight their pros and cons.
Sea buckthorn berries
Sea buckthorn berries are freshly available only for a couple of months – from mid-summer till early fall. Because they are not easy to find, you should go for them if you spot them in the market. Alternatively, you can find them frozen too as they freeze very well, and they keep their nutritional value also! The only problem is that people who live in countries where sea buckthorn berries cannot grow do not have access to them. Always keep in mind to check for their country of origin and whether they are wild or cultivated ones.
Recommendation: Choose whole wild berries from a country you trust for its clean nature.
Sea buckthorn powder
Sea buckthorn powder is an excellent way to process and preserve the freshly picked berries. If fresh berries are freeze-dried into powder and packaged in air-sealed bags, they remain in excellent condition for up to 3 years. Compared to fresh/frozen berries or juice, sea buckthorn powder is light, easy to ship, and requires no refrigerated conditions. When the whole berries are used (and not just parts of it), sea buckthorn powder offers almost 100% the same nutrients as fresh berries or extracts. Therefore, you can easily order it online and enjoy the health benefits of sea buckthorn berries all-year-round.
Recommendation: Choose a freeze-dried sea buckthorn powder that comes from whole wild sea buckthorn berries.
Sea buckthorn juice
Sea buckthorn juice is another good way to preserve and enjoy sea buckthorn berries all-year-round. As with the powder, the juice must come from the whole berries and not just parts. Often, companies remove certain parts of the whole berry, such as the skin or the seeds from the juice. This has a direct impact on the nutritional value of the product. For example, many of the vitamins and other micronutrients are found in the skin only. Therefore, if the skin was removed before the juice was made, these nutrients will not be present in this product. Last, it is important to check in the ingredients’ list for any added sugars or preservatives. Sea buckthorn has a tangy and sour taste, and therefore the juice will taste as such.
Recommendation: Choose a juice that comes from 100% whole wild sea buckthorn berries and does not contain added sugars or artificial preservatives.
Sea buckthorn oil
Sea buckthorn oil is perhaps the most popular sea buckthorn product mainly because of its concentrated amounts of healthy oils (i.e., omega fatty acids) and antioxidants. The oil usually comes from either the seeds or the pulp of the fruit. In both cases, the whole fruit is pre-processed, and certain parts (and certain nutrients as a consequence) are removed to ensure oil purity. Sea buckthorn oil is predominantly used in the cosmetic industry to produce hair and skin products. Although sea buckthorn oil contains >100 biomolecules that may help with certain hair and skin conditions, its use in a cosmetic product does not guarantee its effectiveness.
Recommendation: Choose a sea buckthorn product that is as natural as possible and contains a high % of the oil as an active ingredient. If buying an oil, use the amount of omega fatty acids to compare between products.
We recommend that you always prioritize quality over price and nutritional value over trends when choosing between the vast number of sea buckthorn products. Also, we recommend you choose sea buckthorn products that use wild berries instead of cultivated ones for the reasons we explained above. Sea buckthorn berries are a real superfood of nature, and they deserve a place in our diet.
In conclusion, all sea buckthorn products are excellent sources of healthy nutrients our body needs regularly. However, if we were to rank these sea buckthorn products by their overall nutritional value, this list would be the following: (1) fresh/frozen whole wild sea buckthorn berries, (2) wild sea buckthorn powder from whole berries, (3) juice from whole wild berries, and (4) sea buckthorn oil.
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