Berries: A Nutrition Powerhouse
Posted at 11:00 - June 27th, 2019 - Megan & Jae - Education Guides
Flavonoids (also known as bioflavonoids) are compounds found abundantly in plants. Though they fulfill many functions, they are the key players in plant pigmentation, specifically the yellow and the red/blue pigments. They are also involved in UV protection, biochemical messaging and cell rejuvenation processes.
Over 5,000 naturally occurring flavonoids have been identified and are divided into multiple groups and sub-groups including flavonols, flavonones, isoflavonoids, anthoxanthins, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, etc.
Flavonoids have been linked to reduced inflammation and cell damage while helping to improve blood vessel function. It has also been shown that flavonoids may have heart-protecting effects such as lowering blood pressure and improving how the body handles sugar.
In recent years, numerous studies have targeted the benefits of anthocyanins in helping to prevent cardiovascular issues. They have also been shown to have a positive impact on cell survival and regeneration, cognitive brain function, eye health and DNA integrity.
Epidemiological studies confirmed that increased levels of anthocyanins, through foods such as berries, had a positive impact on blood pressure, capillary permeability, peripheral artery issues and cardiovascular risk in general.
In a study published in the “Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology”, results indicated that anthocyanins helped protect cardiovascular health from oxidative stress and block the degradation of fat into harmful compounds in blood.
According to Jane Hart, M.D. and a recent study cited in “Circulation”, women may lower their risk of heart attack be eating plenty of blueberries and strawberries. The study was conducted over 18 years and included 93,000 women, ages 25 to 42.
Results indicated that women who ate the most foods containing anthocyanins had a much lower risk of heart attack compared with those study participants who ate none or only minimal amounts. Consumption comparisons were made between those eating 3 servings of berries per week versus those who ate only one serving or less per month.
As stated by the authors of the study, “Our findings suggest that bioactive compounds present in red and blue fruits and vegetables may be associated with a reduced risk of [heart attack] in young and middle-aged women.”
Anthocyanins, the type of flavonoid described in this study, are found in the red, blue and purple skin of fruits and vegetables. Content is highest in red and blue berries.
Foods Containing Anthocyanins
Best food sources of anthocyanins:
Note: For more information regarding the anthocyanin benefits of tart cherries, see the Eureka Market Education Guide “Inflammation Power House: Tart Cherry”.
Additional food options for anthocyanins:
Fresh Versus Processed
According to the a study published in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry”*, anthocyanins (ACN’s) were found only in fresh fruits and vegetables, but missing in the processed foods even though the raw food sources had been added at the beginning. When the processed foods were tested, the anthocyanin content was gone.
Specifically tested were canned foods, bread, cereals, and baby foods. The study concluded that the reason for the loss in anthocyanin content was that the nutrients could not withstand the heat and processing.
*“Concentrations of Anthocyanins in Common Foods in the U.S. and Estimation of Normal Consumption”, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, J. Agric. Food Chem. 2006, 54, 4069-4075
Jane Hart, MD: Board-certified in internal medicine, consultant, journalist, educator, Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio.
Megan is our product curator and store visionary. Personally vetting every product that comes through the door, she evaluates thousands of items each month with a focus on quality ingredients and value. Well-schooled in the supplements department and the editor of our in-store newsletters, she still insists her main job is raising three daughters! (Wichita, Kansas)
2019 marks Jae’s 20th year working as a Holistic Nutritionist and Supplement Specialist in the Health Food industry. This environment has afforded the opportunity to discuss health issues and solutions with thousands of customers and clients. Along the way, she has acquired multiple certifications including biogenealogy, environmental biology, holistic nutrition and various healing modalities. She is currently studying to complete a Ph.D in Holistic Nutrition.
All Eureka Market Education Guides are intended for educational purposes only. The guides are NOT intended to substitute for professional medical consultation and as such, do not diagnose, prescribe or offer personal medical advice. Always consult with your health care professional before taking supplements with prescription medications.