London: Updated Apr 10, 2018
Berries – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries – have a good reputation when it comes to improving health. In fact, they are among the healthiest foods you can eat on the planet.
They are delicious and packed with vital nutrients that provide immense health benefits, including weight loss and cardiovascular disease prevention. One particular reason what makes berries so special is their high levels of phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients, are naturally occurring compounds in plant foods that help protect cells from damage. Several laboratory studies have shown that many phytochemicals act as antioxidants, neutralising free radicals and removing their power to create damage.
Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, berries have been known to improve digestive system, which promotes weight loss. Now, scientists have found that berries also contain anti-cancer properties, said a study published in Scientific Reports.
According to the researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, berries naturally produce pigments that give them the red, blue and purple colour, known as anthocyanins. These pigments increase the function of the enzyme sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) in cancer cells, regulation of this enzyme could open up new avenues for cancer treatment.
Sirtuin 6 is a less well-known enzyme that is also linked to glucose metabolism. Sirtuins are enzymes regulating the expression of genes that control the function of cells through key cellular signalling pathways. Ageing causes changes in sirtuin function and these changes contribute to the development of various diseases, said the study. The researchers also reported about finding a new cyanidin anthocyanin in berries.
“The most interesting results of our study relate to cyanidin, which is an anthocyanin found abundantly in wild bilberry, blackcurrant and lingonberry,” said lead author Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, from the varsity.
Low in calories berries are an excellent source of fiber, including soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness. This may help decrease appetite and your calorie intake, making your weight loss journey easier.
In addition, various studies have suggested that increasing consumption of antioxidant-rich berries decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. Besides many other health benefits, berries contain nutrients that also promote hair and skin health.
For instance, while the vitamin C in berries helps decrease wrinkling and protect collagen from damage, the chemicals found the fruit (particularly blueberries) stimulate hair growth and keep your tresses healthy.
Studies suggested berries, particularly black raspberries and strawberries, can help lower cholesterol in obese people and those with metabolic syndrome. ( Times Now )