Research Confirms Wild Blueberry Antioxidant Power

Armen Hareyan's picture
Advertisement

Wild Blueberries have the highest cellular antioxidant activity of selected fruits tested.

Lead scientist Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D. used the cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay-a new assay developed by the Cornell University Department of Food Science to determine antioxidant activity of antioxidants, foods, and dietary supplements. Wild Blueberries performed better in cells than cranberries, apples, red and green grapes.

According to Dr. Liu, the CAA assay takes antioxidant measurement to a new level moving beyond test tube assays to bioactivity inside cells. "We've taken the next step toward understanding antioxidant activity by examining how antioxidants react with cells. This new approach is more biologically relevant as it accounts for uptake, metabolism, distribution and activity of antioxidant compounds in cells versus solely looking at antioxidant value." Dr. Liu's work builds upon current antioxidant research using the chemistry or test tube assays, like Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). "ORAC is still a valuable test. What we've done is advance the research to see how these compounds react with cells. We believe this is a stronger measure of how antioxidant compounds could potentially react in the body."

Advertisement

According to USDA scientist and developer of the ORAC test Ron Prior, Ph.D., the CAA assay is an advancement. "The CAA assay provides information regarding cellular levels of antioxidants which is important to our understanding in this area of antioxidant research. How useful the assay will be in predicting in vivo uptake and availability of dietary antioxidants remains to be determined with further research."

Wild Blueberries: Nature's Antioxidant Superfruit

Wild Blueberry Association Nutrition Advisor Susan Davis, M.S., R.D. advises consumers to choose colorful, naturally nutrient-dense foods like Wild Blueberries. "Wild Blueberries are packed with protective natural compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Eat at least 1/2 cup of Wild Blueberries every day as part of a well-balanced diet. Eating antioxidant- rich foods is key to weight management, reducing risks for chronic diseases and healthy aging." According to Davis, antioxidants help protect cells against free radicals-unstable oxygen molecules associated with cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and other effects of aging. A serving of Wild Blueberries has more antioxidants than most other fruits. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52:4026-4037, 2004.)

Davis noted that Wild Blueberries are now available in supermarket freezer cases nationwide. Individually quick-frozen, Wild Blueberries are frozen at the peak of freshness and are just as nutritious as fresh. "It's easy to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into the family meal plan when you have frozen on-hand," said Davis. "Just grab a half-cup of frozen Wild Blueberries from the freezer, add them to cereal, make a smoothie or enjoy them as is."

Davis advises choosing a brightly colored fruits and vegetables which are loaded with health-promoting phytochemicals. Wild Blueberry phytochemicals known as anthocyanins give the fruit its deep blue color and

Advertisement