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Wild Blueberries Take Top Spot in New Antioxidant Research Study

Cornell University Food Scientists Expand Testing Using Cellular Antioxidant Activity Assay

Portland, Maine (October 8, 2008) — Wild Blueberry antioxidant research advanced today with the release of results from a new study showing Wild Blueberries outperformed 2 dozen other commonly consumed fruits like apples, bananas, red grapes and strawberries in an expanded test using the Cellular Antioxidant Activity (CAA) assay. New research published in the current issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry 56 (18): 8418-8426, 2008) shows that Wild Blueberries have the highest cellular antioxidant activity of the 25 fruits tested, as well as the highest total phenolic content and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). 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.

According to Dr. Liu, the CAA assay was developed to investigate how antioxidant compounds found in foods react inside cells, using human liver cancer cells as the testing model. The CAA assay takes antioxidant measurement to a new level moving beyond test tube assays to bioactivity inside cells. The CAA assay is a more biologically relevant method than the chemistry antioxidant activity assays as it accounts for uptake, metabolism, distribution and activity of antioxidant compounds within cells versus solely looking at antioxidant value. The CAA assay is the first movement in the antioxidant field away from test tube chemistry assays and toward cell-based antioxidant activity assay.

The recently published study shows the cellular antioxidant activity of 25 common fruits, an expansion from earlier CAA testing done in 2007. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2007; 55 (22), 8896-8907). “In expanding the test to include more fruits, we found that Wild Blueberries had the highest antioxidant activity, with other berries and pomegranates also showing strong performance. While further testing is needed to confirm how dietary antioxidants are absorbed by and go to work in the human body to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, we’re encouraged by the response in this initial screening measure,” said Dr. Liu.

Wild Blueberry Association Nutrition Advisor Susan Davis, M.S., R.D. advises choosing brightly colored fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on berries. According to Davis, berries are naturally rich in anthocyanins, protective plant compounds responsible for the deep blue color of fruits like Wild Blueberries. Anthocyanins have potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and are being studied for their possible preventative role in fighting cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other effects of aging.

“The CAA assay results present more evidence that antioxidant-rich foods like Wild Blueberries, when eaten as part of a well-balanced diet, have the potential to reduce chronic disease risk and promote healthy aging,” said Davis. The USDA recommends between 1 to 2½ cups of fruit per day depending on age, gender and activity level. According to the USDA, just ½ cup of fruit delivers one fruit serving. “Look for Wild Blueberries in the frozen fruit section of your local supermarket. Frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh, and gives you the added convenience of having great tasting fruit on-hand every day. Just toss a half-cup onto your cereal, whip up a smoothie or enjoy them right out of the bag,” continued Davis. For more easy usage and recipe ideas visit wildblueberries.com/recipes.

Ongoing studies in inflammation include a clinical trial being conducted at Louisiana State University, which examines the effect of blueberries in the diet on insulin sensitivity, markers of oxidative stress, and inflammation and cognitive performance. Also reported on at the Summit was a pilot study from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, which focuses on how subjects responded to the addition of Wild Blueberry juice to their diet. Initial results show a beneficial effect in terms of improvements in cued recall as well as reduction of depression symptoms, a common association with mild to severe cognitive impairment. Ongoing clinical trials also include an investigation by the University of Maine into the potential effect of Wild Blueberry-enhanced diets on satiety.

Wild Blueberry Association of North America

The Wild Blueberry Association of North America is a trade association of growers and processors of Wild Blueberries from Maine and Canada, dedicated to bringing the Wild Blueberry health story and unique Wild Advantages to consumers and the trade worldwide.

Contact:
Sue Till, Marketing Director
Swardlick Marketing Group
7 Custom House Street
Portland, Maine 04101
207.775.4100 tel
207.775.5668 fax