Scientific properties of berries

Keep up to date with the latest research into the properties of berries

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Berries for Wound Healing? New Science Suggests Important Potential Benefits

2nd Oct 2019

New research published in the journal of Food Research International[1] has revealed that berries, especially strawberries and blackberries, could help wound healing. For centuries, honey has been used for wound healing[2], but the latest research suggests that berries could also be effective for those with sores, ulcers or other wounds.

 

 


[1] Van de Velde F et al. (2019) Anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of polyphenolic extracts from strawberry and blackberry fruits. Food Res Int 121:453-462.

[2] Saikaly SK & Khachemoune A (2017) Honey and Wound Healing: An Update. Am J Clin Dermatol 18(2):237-251.

New research published in the journal of Food Research International[1] has revealed that berries, especially strawberries and blackberries, could help wound healing. For centuries, honey has been used for wound healing[2], but the latest research suggests that berries could also be effective for those with sores, ulcers or other wounds.

 

The new research analysed the anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of strawberries and blackberries. The scientists found that blackberries were particularly good at helping to suppress reactive oxygen species (molecules that are produced when tissues are injured). Berry proanthocyanidins – the very compounds that give berries their red, blue, or purple colours – also appeared to reduce the need for nitric oxide synthesis, a compound involved in wound repair. 

 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: “This new research has some very interesting findings which suggest that berries are helping to take the pressure off some of our innate wound repair mechanisms. We know that plants produce phytochemicals to protect and repair environmental damage, diseases, parasites and fungi, and this research shows that eating berries or applying them to our skin could also potentially support our body’s wound repair mechanisms. 

 

“Ongoing research in the form of in vivo human studies are now needed. In the meantime, regular berry consumption, particularly strawberries and blackberries, for those with sores, ulcers or other wounds or injuries, could be a nice, tasty way to benefit from their anti-inflammatory effects.2.[3]  And to step it up even further, eating berries with a spoonful or squirt of honey could be the perfect combination to help heal wounds”.

 

ENDS

 


[1] Van de Velde F et al. (2019) Anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of polyphenolic extracts from strawberry and blackberry fruits. Food Res Int 121:453-462.

[2] Saikaly SK & Khachemoune A (2017) Honey and Wound Healing: An Update. Am J Clin Dermatol 18(2):237-251.

[3] Joseph SV et al. (2014) Berries: anti-inflammatory effects in humans. J Agric Food Chem 62(18):3886-903.

 

 

Berry Anthocyanins and Gut Health

13th Aug 2019

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Digestive problems can affect the best of us at some point in our lives. In fact Mintel data shows that 86 per cent of all British adults have had some form of gastrointestinal problem or ailment over the course of a year.[1]  Now a new review published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics[2]has revealed that consuming anthocyanins from foods such as berries could help health gut bacteria to flourish.

Latest evidence shows that anthocyanins (plant-pigments that give fruits such as berries their distinct blue/red colouration) are metabolised in the gut.  This, in turn, is thought to cause a shift in the type and amount of bacteria that are housed in the gut as well as having other potentially beneficial biological effects.

The latest review pooled evidence from six trials assessing links between anthocyanin intakes and gut microbiota populations. These were a combination of human, in vitro(test tube studies) and animal trials. 

It was found that the consumption of anthocyanins helped Bifidobacterium spp.populations (the type that tends to be used in probiotics and for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome) to flourish.  In contrast, populations of less favourableClostridium histolyticum, which has been found to be pathogenic in humans, were found to be inhibited.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: "These are very interesting and promising findings indicating that anthocyanins which are typically found in the skin of dark fruits such as berries have potential to give gut health a boost.  These appear to give favourable gut bacteria a boost whilst offsetting unsavory gut bugs.  This is exciting research though further clinical trials are now needed to see if similar effects can be replicated”

- ENDS -

 

For editors:

  • The anthocyanin content of berries is:

Berry

Serving Size

mg/serving

Blackberries

½ cup

70.4

Blueberries

½ cup

120.8

Raspberries

½ cup

30.2

Strawberries

½ cup

20.5

USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods.

  • The colour/pigmentation of the fruit and vegetables that we eat could well be as important as the amount that we eat.

[1]http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/beauty-and-personal-care/86-of-brits-have-suffered-from-a-gastrointestinal-problem-in-the-past-year

[2]Igwe EOet al. (2018) A systematic literature review of the effect of anthocyanins on gut microbiota populations.  J Hum Nutr Diet.[Epub ahead of print].

The effects of acute wild blueberry supplementation on the cognition of 7–10-year-old schoolchildren

12th Aug 2019

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Previous evidence suggests consumption of avonoids, a sub-class of polyphenols, is associated with improved cognitive function across the lifespan. In particular, acute intervention of a avonoid-rich wild blueberry (WBB) drink has been shown to boost executive function (EF), short-term memory and mood 2–6 h post-consumption in 7–10-year-old chil- dren.

For the full paper from the European Journal of Nutrition please download the document by clicking on the PDF icon next to the article title.

Berry Anthocyanins can give Heart Health a Boost

11th Aug 2019

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Over half of all cardiovascular episodes could be prevented by improved diet which is reflected in fruit and vegetable dietary guidelines.[1],[2]  Now a new review published in Molecular Aspects of Medicine[3]has pinpointed that eating anthocyanin-rich berries as a key part of protecting heart health.

Over half of all cardiovascular episodes could be prevented by improved diet which is reflected in fruit and vegetable dietary guidelines.[1],[2]  Now a new review published in Molecular Aspects of Medicine[3]has pinpointed that eating anthocyanin-rich berries as a key part of protecting heart health.

The review collated evidence from 25 observational studies each evaluating links between anthocyanin intakes and risk of cardiovascular disease.  Anthocyanins are plant-pigments that give berries their distinct blue/red colouration.  They are typically found in the skin of fruits but are uniquely found in the skin AND flesh of berries.  

The review found that the simple change of incorporating a few portions of fruits rich in anthocyanins, such as berries into the diet could help to significantly reduce cardiovascular disease risk, including the risk of strokes, fatal heart attacks and high blood pressure.  These findings were highly promising with the additional benefit of anthocyanins appearing to give gut health a boost.  

 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented;“Rates of cardiovascular disease are all an all-time high with 420 people in the UK losing their lives daily due to this.[4] It has long been known eating fruit and veg. is great for heart health but this research really emphasises the importance of eating an array of fruit and veg. and COLOURED varieties including berries”.

“In Australia[5]residents are encouraged to “eat a rainbow” and in Norway berries are encouraged as part of fruit and vegetable guidelines. This new paper adds to the body of evidence that berries really are great for our health”.

- ENDS -

For editors:

  • Cardiovascular disease is defined as conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels including heart attacks and strokes.[6]
  • Norway[7]appears to be leading the way advising that residents should: “Have a varied diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and berries, wholegrain products and fish, and limited amounts of processed meat, red meat, and salt and sugar” and “Eat at least five portions of vegetables, fruits and berries each day”.  Other counties including the UK fail to identify specific fruits with health benefits within their dietary guidelines.
  • The anthocyanin content of berries is:

Berry

Serving Size

mg/serving

Blackberries

½ cup

70.4

Blueberries

½ cup

120.8

Raspberries

½ cup

30.2

Strawberries

½ cup

20.5

USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods.

  • The colour/pigmentation of the fruit and vegetables that we eat could well be as important as the amount that we eat.
  • As evidence grows the UK may consider adding specific advice about berries to its fruit and vegetable guidelines.

 


[1]Ezzati, M & Riboli, E. (2013) Behavioral and dietary risk factors for noncommunicable diseases. N. Engl. J. Med. 369, 954e964.

[2]http://www.who.int/elena/titles/fruit_vegetables_ncds/en/

[3]Cassidy A(2018) Berry anthocyanin intake and cardiovascular health.Mol Aspects Med61:76-82.

[4]https://www.bhf.org.uk/research/heart-statistics

[5]http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/eat-rainbow

[6]http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cardiovascular-diseases/cardiovascular-diseases2/definition-of-cardiovascular-diseases

[7]http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-based-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/norway/en/    

 

Blackberries – Good for Gut Health?

10th Aug 2019

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We are increasingly becoming more and more interested and intrigued by our gut health. Evidence shows that our diets can be highly influential in shaping the profile and form of gut microbiota with fibre, fat, proteins, polyphenols and micronutrients being some examples of components in our diets that can do this.[1]

Now, new research[2]published in the Food Chemistryjournal has looked into blackberries and how these could affect human gut microbiota.  In the study a blackberry homogenate mixture was placed into a test tube and underwent what resembled digestion and gut fermentation.  Components produced during these processes were then analysed.

It was found that blackberry anthocyanins degraded during the digestion processes. Subsequently gut metabolites appeared to have potent antioxidant and antidiabetic activity, possibly as a result of this.  Scientists also found that the overall biological activity of the blackberry appeared to increase after digestion and fermentation.  

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: "These are insightful findings highlighting that berries could now too have benefits for our gut health.  Clearly more research taking the form of human trials is needed.  These first findings though look promising indicating that the health benefits of berries may get even stronger when they reach our gut and their anthocyanins are degraded”.

- ENDS -


[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29410981

[2]Gowd et al.(2018) Antioxidant and antidiabetic activity of blackberry after gastrointestinal digestion and human gut microbiota fermentation. Food Chemistry 269:618-627. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814618311543?via%3Dihub

Blueberries show brain-boosting promise for children

9th Aug 2019

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Children spend around 30 hours a week at school concentrating, learning and absorbing new information. Interestingly, new research published in the European Journal of Nutrition[1]has found that eating blueberries could have cognitive (brain) benefits for children.

Children spend around 30 hours a week at school concentrating, learning and absorbing new information. Interestingly, new research published in the European Journal of Nutrition[1]has found that eating blueberries could have cognitive (brain) benefits for children.

The randomised controlled trial recruited 54 children who were at primary school (7 to 10 years) and asked them to drink 200ml of a wild blueberry drink or a placebo. The wild blueberry drink contained 253mg anthocyanins and was the equivalent to 240 grams or one and a half cups of fresh blueberries (about a punnet).  

The team carrying out the research assessed verbal memory, cognitive function (attention and response) and reading efficiency before the drink was ingested and two hours after its consumption. Scientists found that the children who consumed the wild blueberry drink had quicker reaction times as it helped them to improve an executive function task known as the MANT (Modified Attention Network Task).

The study concluded that while ongoing research is needed, blueberries in amounts equivalent to 240 grams or one and a half cups of fresh blueberries could provide cognitive benefits to children of school age.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented, “This was a well-designed trial and implies that giving children berries as part of their breakfast in the morning or tucked away in their lunch boxes could well help to boost their brain power when they are at school, especially during exam season.”

- ENDS -


[1]Barfoot KL et al.(2018) The effects of acute wild blueberry supplementation on the cognition of 7-10-year-old schoolchildren. Eur J Nutr[Epub ahead of print].

Could eating raspberries help people with diabetes?

8th Aug 2019

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Two new studies published in Obesity[1]and Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism[2]have suggested that eating raspberries could significantly help prevent and manage diabetes. The first study4which investigated people with ‘pre-diabetes’ and insulin resistance, found that people who ate berries for breakfast had reduced glucose levels two hours later. Similarly, the second study5also suggested that eating berries was linked to lower blood sugar levels.

Around 4.7 million people in the UK currently have diabetes and if nothing changes these figures are projected to rise to 5.5 million by 2030.[1]  Of those with diabetes in the UK, about 90% have type 2 diabetes. This is a condition in which the pancreas can fail to produce enough insulin - the hormone which regulates blood sugar levels.[2]Prediabetes (borderline diabetes) is also on the rise, with growing numbers largely being driven by rising obesity rates.[3]

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: “These are very interesting trials both suggesting that raspberry consumption could be an important dietary component for those at risk of type 2 diabetes.

“We know that berries are low in calories and provide polyphenols making them an ideal breakfast component or snack. What we need now is more research along with information about how these findings could be used in practice, for example dietary strategies for those at risk of type 2 diabetes or advice on the best way to get five-a-day for those at risk of poor metabolic health.”

- ENDS -


[1]https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/new-stats-people-living-with-diabetes

[2]https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/what-is-type-2-diabetes

[3]https://www.diabetes.co.uk/pre-diabetes.html

Eating strawberries and blackberries could help narrow the UK folate gap

7th Aug 2019

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The UK is currently experiencing a folate gap, particularly in woman of childbearing age, whereby people are not getting enough folate in their diet.

Folate, also known as vitamin B9 is an important water-soluble vitamin that needs to be obtained from the diet to support good health.[1]Folate status has been linked to cardiovascular and cognitive wellbeing and has a crucial role to play in women of childbearing age and early pregnancy – helping to facilitate cell division, with shortfalls being linked to the risk of spina bifida (known as neural tube defects).*1

New Research in the Food Chemistry[2]journal has carried out a novel experimental analysis measuring the total folate levels of berries. Scientists found that berries are excellent providers of folate with strawberries and blackberries providing the highest amounts of total folates – 93-118 µg per 100 grams which is just a quarter of a typical punnet.

Recent data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition survey[3]shows that blood folate levels have dropped over the last nine years. Dietary guidelines[4]advise men and women aged 15 to 64 years to aim for 200 µg of folate daily. It is recommended that women of child bearing age take a 400μg folic acid supplement daily until the 12thweek of pregnancy. If there is a family history of conditions like neural tube defects, a higher dose of 5mg of folic acid each day may be needed until the 12th week of pregnancy.[5]

At the moment, daily intakes of folate from food sources average just 193 µg for girls aged 11 to 18 years and 205 µg  amongst women of childbearing age (16-49 years) with around 1 in 10 (8%) having intakes below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (level below which deficiency may occur).[6]

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: "This is a highly informative analysis showing that strawberries and blackberries can provide good levels of folate.                                

“These findings support the advice that berries should be a “go to” food for young girls and those of child bearing age. However, it must be emphasized that those who could fall pregnant or who are in the early stages of pregnancy should also take a 400 µg folic acid supplement in line with Government advice”.4


[1]Ebara S(2017) Nutritional role of folate. Congenit Anom (Kyoto).57(5):138-141. 

[2]Zou Yet al.(2019) Quantification of polyglutamyl 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, monoglutamyl folate vitamers, and total folates in different berries and berry juice by UHPLC-MS/MS.Food Chem276:1-8.

[3]Public Health England (2019) Statistical Summary: National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Years 1 to 9 of the Rolling Programme (2008/09 – 2016/17): Time trend and income analyses.  Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/772430/NDNS_Y1-9_statistical_summary.pdf

[4]Public Health England (2016) Government Dietary Recommendations. Government recommendations for energy and nutrients for males and females aged 1 – 18 years and 19+ years. PHE: London.

[5]Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2017) Update on Folic Acid.  Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/637111/SACN_Update_on_folic_acid.pdf

[6]Public Health England (2018) NDNS: results from years 7 and 8 (combined). Data Tables.

Results of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) rolling programme for 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.

Berry anthocyanin intake and cardiovascular health

6th Aug 2019

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In an era where preventive medicine is becoming increasingly important, due to an expanding ageing population and increasing prevalence of obesity, an optimised diet is central for improving CV health.

For the full paper from Molecular Aspects of Medicine 61 please download the document by clicking on the PDF icon next to the article title.

Berries can significantly reduce cardiovascular disease

5th Aug 2019

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A new review has shown that eating berries can play a key role in protecting heart health.

Berries are high in anthocyanins - plant-pigments which give berries their distinct blue/red colouration - and are uniquely found in both the skin and flesh of berries unlike just the skin of other fruits.

The new review, published in Molecular Aspects of Medicine, [1]found that incorporating a few portions of fruits rich in anthocyanin, such as berries, into the diet could help to significantly reduce cardiovascular disease risk, including strokes, fatal heart attacks and high blood pressure. There is also evidence that anthocyanins can give gut health a boost. 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits said: “Rates of cardiovascular disease are all an all-time high with 420 people in the UK losing their lives daily due to this.[2]  It has long been known eating fruit and vegetables is great for heart health but this research really emphasises the importance of eating an array of fruit and vegetables and COLOURED varieties including berries”.

“In Australia[3]residents are encouraged to “eat a rainbow” and in Norway berries are encouraged as part of fruit and vegetable guidelines.  This new paper adds to the body of evidence that berries really are great for our health”.

- ENDS - 

Notes to editors:

  • Cardiovascular disease is defined as conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels including heart attacks and strokes.[4]
  • Norway[5]appears to be leading the way advising that residents should: “Have a varied diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and berries, wholegrain products and fish, and limited amounts of processed meat, red meat, and salt and sugar” and “Eat at least five portions of vegetables, fruits and berries each day”.  Other counties including the UK fail to identify specific fruits with health benefits within their dietary guidelines.
  • The anthocyanin content of berries is:

Berry

Serving Size

mg/serving

Blackberries

½ cup

70.4

Blueberries

½ cup

120.8

Raspberries

½ cup

30.2

Strawberries

½ cup

20.5

USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods.

  • The colour/pigmentation of the fruit and vegetables that we eat could well be as important as the amount that we eat.
  • As evidence grows the UK may consider adding specific advice about berries to its fruit and vegetable guidelines.

 


[1]Cassidy A(2018) Berry anthocyanin intake and cardiovascular health.Mol Aspects Med61:76-82.

[2]https://www.bhf.org.uk/research/heart-statistics

[3]http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/eat-rainbow

[4]http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cardiovascular-diseases/cardiovascular-diseases2/definition-of-cardiovascular-diseases

[5]http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-based-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/norway/en/