Berry Good!

 

Who doesn't love berries? These versatile fruits are a great snack, and they're good for you too! In fact, new research has revealed that blueberries, cranberries, huckleberries, and related plants all contain a special cancer-fighting compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol (3,5,4-trihydroxystilbene) is also found in grapes and has been examined extensively by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Studies indicate that the compound protects fruits from fungal diseases. It also provides health benefits for consumers by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and possibly even cancer.

The ARS team's studies showed that several fruit samples of blueberries, cranberries, and huckleberries contained varying amounts of the compound. Analysis of the extracts of the skin, juice/pulp, and seed of muscadine grapes showed that that concentration of resveratrol in the skin was highest. Levels in the juice/pulp were much lower than in the skin and seeds. That's why it is better to consume the whole fruit instead of  just the juice.

Analysis of more berry and grape samples is continuing. For more information, visit www.ars.usda.gov and search for the word "resveratrol."

This article is brought to you by the Nutrition Education Store. Check out our incredible handouts, PowerPoints, books, games, and posters for even more information about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.

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