What are cloudberries?
Tired of eating the same foods all the time and interested in adding new fruits to your diet? Look no further than the cloudberry.
A traditional Scandinavian fruit, cloudberries can be found in the cold climate of its native northern land and are foraged from the wild in the small quantities that they grow in.1
As cloudberries are rarer than familiar supermarket berries, they are not typically commercially available as fresh produce. To enjoy them fresh at home, you’ll most likely have to grow them yourself under the right conditions (cold and moist) and planted at the right time of year (early spring). If you’ve cared for your cloudberry plants correctly, you should have a sweet treat to enjoy by late summer/early autumn.1
Cloudberries can also be found in a variety of processed and preserved foods, available from some shops. Cloudberries can be incorporated into your diet as a snack or as an ingredient of cloudberry jam, cloudberry liqueur and even cloudberry-flavoured ice cream, for example.1
As well as the flesh of the fruit, cloudberry leaves are also edible - often stewed into teas.2
The cloudberry boasts plenty of nutritious content, enough to be considered a superfood. The big players in the cloudberry’s nutrient profile include antioxidants, vitamin C and host of other vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that are excellent for your health.2
Health benefits of cloudberry
Cloudberries have been used as traditional medicine by northern natives for hundreds of years. Today, adding the cloudberry to your diet still has many health benefits, including reducing your chance of developing some serious health conditions.2
Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are all extremely common health complaints in the UK; all linked to poor diet choices and obesity. To improve your heart, blood and metabolic health, it is important to eat a varied, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Given their nutritional content, cloudberries are the perfect candidates for doing just that: helping to keep your arteries clear and your blood pressure and sugar levels within the normal range.3
Cloudberries also contain a potent combination of compounds that can help your body fight off infections, such as diseases caused by ‘bad’ gut bacteria and bacteria that could complicate wound healing.4,5
Due to their immune-supportive antioxidant content, they can help you recover from other seasonal illnesses.2
Cloudberries are also thought to counteract the growth of potentially cancerous cells.6
The health benefits also don’t end at consuming cloudberries - the fruit has also been infused into skincare and haircare products, like serums and oils designed to keep skin and hair strong, smooth and moisturised with continued application.7
Cloudberries are packed with several vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that are essential for your health.2
- Vitamin A - keeps your eyes and skin healthy and the immune system functioning
- B vitamins - perform essential functions for healthy skin, brain, nerves and food metabolism
- Vitamin C - a powerful antioxidant, important for skin and immunity
- Vitamin E - bolsters immunity against infections
- Calcium - essential for bone, teeth, muscle, heart and blood health8
- Magnesium - needed for the regeneration of body cells and tissues and muscle function
- Potassium - important for healthy heart function
- Zinc - important for healthy food metabolism, cell generation and tissue repair
Cloudberries also contain another powerful antioxidant called ellagic acid, which is responsible for the small fruit’s cancer-protective function.6
They are also a source of dietary fibre - important for proper gastrointestinal function and healthy weight management.8
Cloudberries also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in your diet. Consuming sources of omega-3 is important, as your body cannot make it on its own and it is needed for the healthy functioning of your nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.9,10
Side effects and other concerns
Before consuming any fruits foraged from the wild or grown in your garden, you should always wash them with water to ensure that they are clean and safe to eat. This should also be done for store-bought produce, unless otherwise stated on the packet.11
Cloudberry allergies are not well documented given the rarity of the fruit, however, they belong to the same fruit family (Rosaceae) as apples, pears and almonds and other berry species like raspberries, cherries and strawberries. Therefore, to prevent any serious reactions, it may be best to avoid the cloudberry if you are allergic to any of its close relatives.12
Cloudberries, as with any other food, should always be consumed in moderation to avoid any adverse health effects - this is especially the case for cloudberry-flavoured sweets, whose higher sugar content can be unhealthy in large quantities. However, they don’t seem to pose any specific threats to health, as long as you follow proper food preparation protocol and portion recommendations.13
Proclaimed superfoods like cloudberries can often leave people dubious as to how something so small could really be a powerful aid to your health. However, they contain many essential vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy, in addition to their anti-cancer agent: ellagic acid.
Therefore, it is a no-brainer that cloudberries have beneficial functions, like protecting against heart disease and cancer and helping your bones and skin remain strong and healthy - whether you try them once in your life or add them to your staple diet or skincare regimen.
Even though their rarity means they aren’t the easiest fruit to come by - you will need to take a ramble through some wild shrubbery or find a local Scandinavian food shop - it could be worth it for all they can do to boost your health and if nothing else, give you the chance to enjoy a sweet, rare treat.
- Cloudberries [Internet]. [cited 2023 Apr 24]. Available from: https://www.swedishfood.com/cloudberries
- Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) [Internet]. NordGen. [cited 2023 Apr 24]. Available from: https://www.nordgen.org/en/plant-portraits/cloudberry-rubus-chamaemorus/
- Pemmari T, Hämäläinen M, Ryyti R, Peltola R, Moilanen E. Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus L.) supplementation attenuates the development of metabolic inflammation in a high-fat diet mouse model of obesity. Nutrients. 2022 Sep 17;14(18):3846.
- Puupponen-Pimia R, Nohynek L, Hartmann-Schmidlin S, Kahkonen M, Heinonen M, Maatta-Riihinen K, et al. Berry phenolics selectively inhibit the growth of intestinal pathogens. J Appl Microbiol [Internet]. 2005 Apr [cited 2023 Apr 24];98(4):991–1000. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/jambio/article/98/4/991/6722565
- Puupponen-Pimiä R, Nohynek L, Suvanto J, Salminen JP, Seppänen-Laakso T, Tähtiharju J, et al. Natural antimicrobials from cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) seeds by sanding and hydrothermal extraction. ACS Food Sci Technol [Internet]. 2021 Jun 18 [cited 2023 Apr 24];1(5):917–27. Available from: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsfoodscitech.0c00109
- Thiem B, Berge V. [Cloudberry: an important source of ellagic acid, an anti-oxidant]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2003 Jun 1;123(13–14):1856–7.
- Cloudberries - the benefits and harm to the health of the body [Internet]. [cited 2023 Apr 24]. Available from: https://htgetrid.com/en/polza-i-vred-moroshki-dlya-zdorovya-organizma/#i-4
- Lee J, Dossett M, Finn CE. Rubus fruit phenolic research: The good, the bad, and the confusing. Food Chemistry [Internet]. 2012 Feb 15 [cited 2023 Apr 24];130(4):785–96. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814611011496
- Bere E. Wild berries: a good source of omega-3. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;61(3):431–3.
- Office of dietary supplements - omega-3 fatty acids [Internet]. [cited 2023 Apr 24]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/
- Nutrition C for FS and A. Selecting and serving produce safely. FDA [Internet]. 2023 Mar 23 [cited 2023 Apr 24]; Available from: https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/selecting-and-serving-produce-safely
- Rodriguez J, Crespo JF, Lopez-Rubio A, De La Cruz-Bertolo J, Ferrando-Vivas P, Vives R, et al. Clinical cross-reactivity among foods of the Rosaceae family. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology [Internet]. 2000 Jul [cited 2023 Apr 24];106(1):183–9. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0091674900158981
- Mutanen M, Pajari AM, Päivärinta E, Misikangas M, Rajakangas J, Marttinen M, et al. Berries as chemoprotective dietary constituents - a mechanistic approach with the Apc/Min+ mouse. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr [Internet]. 2008;17(S1):123–5. Available from: https://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/17/s1/123.pdf