Berries to the rescue! A symposium held on the health benefits and biochemical properties of berry fruits would like us to believe that berries will make us thin, cancer free and have no wrinkles. And these super fruits may help in our quest of all those goals. The symposium consisted of six separate presentations, each one delving deeper into a specific health benefit of berry fruits and the scientific research behind it. The conclusion was berries do have health benefits, particularly with cardiovascular disease, anti aging, cancer and obesity. These benefits are due to the “flavonoids” — a class of naturally occurring chemicals which have antioxidant properties.
Is any of this ground breaking news? No. There is already a large body of evidence supporting these assertions. Berries are rich in many flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, which are responsible for their blue/purple/red color. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that have been shown to impede cancer cell growth, reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes to name a few benefits. Anthocyanin is also water-soluble, meaning that it can literally leak out of your fruits or veggies if they sit in water too long.
Unsurprisingly, it was sponsored by the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission, the Oregon Strawberry Commission, the California Strawberry Commission, the Washington Red Raspberry Commission, the Wild Blueberry Association of North America, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and the Cranberry Institute. All organizations run by berry growers, and other members to promote the consumption of berries, much like the National Dairy Council promotes dairy.
To boost the anthocyanin in your diet, incorporate the following foods:
- Berries (duh!) – blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries
- Pomegranate seeds or juice
- Eggplant skin
- Red grapes (and yes, that includes grape juice and red wine)
- Red cabbage
- Black currants