Newstarget, Sep 14, 2005
Adding berries to your diet will pack a healthy punch since the fruits contain vitamin C, which promotes immune system, bone, skin and tissue health; potassium, which is beneficial in blood pressure control; fiber, which can help with diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels; and antioxidants, which protect blood vessel walls, promote good vision and protect the body from harmful UV rays. Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries all contain powerful phytochemicals that fight cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and more.Federal Government Says Purple Berries Are Rich In Antioxidants
The USDA says purple berries rate even higher than blueberries and cranberries on the antioxidant score. Purple berries include elderberries, black currants and chokeberries. These unusual berries possess as much as 50 percent more antioxidants than more common berries. That means they could help combat cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Purple berry pie, anyone? If you enjoy this article, you may also be interested in an article entitled 'Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries all contain powerful phytochemicals that fight cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and more.
You may not be familiar with "purple berries," but new research by a group of USDA scientists suggest they are among the highest fruits for antioxidants, even higher than blueberries and cranberries. In preliminary laboratory studies, the researchers found that the elderberry, black currant and chokeberry --- collectively known as the "purple berries" due to their dark color --- are as much as 50 percent higher in antioxidants than some of the more common berry varieties and have the potential to provide more health benefits, such as protection against cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
They predict that the "purple berries" will play a bigger role in the marketplace in the near future, where they are poised to be used as part of a growing number of specialty health foods, drinks and nutraceuticals.
The study will appear in the Dec. 15 print issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.Many Berries Are High in Resveratrol, An Anti-Cancer Agent
Resveratrol is found in grapevines, with the highest concentration being in grape skins. It is also found in peanuts and mulberries.
An article published last September in the journal Anti-Cancer Research, indicated that resveratrol appears to exhibit anti-cancer properties by its ability to suppress proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells. The mechanism for this anti-cancer effect seems to be multi-factorial. It appears to work because it interferes with the cell cycle of the cancer, inhibiting certain proteins and down-regulating gene products. These encouraging results have lead to expanded research of resveratol by the team at M.D. Andersen as a potential nutrient to fight cancer cells.
Resveratrol is in a class of nutrients known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are among the most potent plant antioxidants in nature. They are a class of phytochemicals found in high concentrations in wine, tea, grapes and a wide variety of other plants. These compounds are responsible for the brightly-colored pigments of many fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols protect plants from diseases and ultraviolet light and help prevent damage to seeds until they germinate. They are naturally produced in plants in response to injury or fungal infection.
Aside from its anti-cancer benefit, resveratrol appears to have very potent cardio-protective effects. Its mechanism of action for cardio protection includes inhibiting oxidation of your LDL cholesterol, inhibiting platelet aggregation and proliferation of smooth muscle cells. In animal studies, it is also shown to reduce the synthesis of lipids.
In a study published last October in the American Journal of Physiology - Lung, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, it was found that resveratrol had an anti-inflammatory effect for lung disease and was actually a more effective anti-inflammatory agent than steroids. The researchers stressed the need for an aerosol version of resveratrol, which could be used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease.Summary of Berry Benefits
- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and others not only add color to your favorite recipes, but they are packed with great health benefits.
- Science is just beginning to identify and understand the many reasons why you should add these delicious fruit to your diet.
- Some of the key nutrients they contain include vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and the many flavonoid phytonutrients (nutrients found in plants that promote health).
- Some of its many jobs include helping the immune system, bone, skin, encouraging wound healing, improving iron absorption, and as an antioxidant, protecting tissues from damage.
- Dietary recommendations for lowering high blood pressure include eating foods high in potassium.
- Berries contain two types of fiber that can come to the rescue.
- Similar to cranberries, blueberries contain substances that promote urinary tract health and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Other benefits of berries actually come from the pigments that give them such lovely colors.
- Antioxidants help to protect us from ultraviolet radiation, are being studied for their positive effects on the brain, and can help slow tissue aging.
- Additionally, antioxidants found in berries help to protect the eye from light damage.
- There are other substances, such as ellagic acid, found in raspberries and other berries that slow the growth of harmful bacteria and may prevent cancer cell growth.
- Add berries to cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, or frozen yogurt.
- Combine blueberries, yogurt, and purple grape juice for a wild purple treat.
- For dessert, try a pudding parfait that has colorful layers of berries and vanilla or lemon pudding.