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Go With Your Gut

New Research Shows Wild Blueberries Promote Better Digestion 

There are already so many reasons to love Wild Blueberries – from flavor to all important antioxidants to fiber. But according to recent research conducted by scientists at the University of Maine’s School of Food and Agriculture there’s yet another reason to stock up on these delicious little super berries – gut health!

Researchers Around the World Are Investigating the
Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries

The research led by University of Maine scientists Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, associate professor of microbiology and food safety, and Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, professor of clinical nutrition, as well as Robert Li, a molecular biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests Wild Blueberries promote better gastrointestinal and digestive health. The finding was especially significant due to gut health’s key role in overall immune system health.

Our own Susan Davis, MS, RD and Wild Blueberry Association of North America Nutrition Advisor told us that “Approximately 70% of the body’s immune functions are located in the digestive tract.”

“By promoting better digestive health, Wild Blueberries in turn contribute to a healthier immune system.”

“These findings are good news for people dealing with obesity, allergy, headaches and inflammation,” said Vivian Chi-Hua Wu.

The researchers examined how Wild Blueberries affected digestive health in rats. For six weeks, they fed one group of rats a control diet and the other group a diet rich in Wild Blueberries.

In the study, researchers found that the rats fed a diet of Wild Blueberries showed an increase in bacteria beneficial to overall gut health. Researchers attributed the increase in beneficial bacteria to the potential of Wild Blueberries to act as prebiotics, which are plant substances that promote the growth of probiotics in the digestive tract.

According to Klimis-Zacas, “These beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, are critical to helping the body maintain good digestive and immune system health.”

Get your Daily Serving of Fruit with Wild Blueberries:
A nutrient-rich food, packed with fiber, minerals
and beneficial antioxidants––all for just 71 calories a cup!

The research also discovered that rats fed a Wild Blueberry diet showed a reduction in Enterococcus, a potentially harmful type of bacteria often credited with causing infections. Additionally, the research indicated a number of other harmful substances were potentially reduced or eliminated from the digestive tract in the rats fed a Wild Blueberry diet.

“Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other plant-based foods is necessary for a healthy gut and immune system,” said Susan Davis. “This research shows that regularly including Wild Blueberries as part of a healthy diet can also have a positive effect.”

The research team included: Vivian Wu, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Alison Lacombe, Aleksandra Kristo, Shravani Tadepalli, Emily Krauss and Ryan Young from the University of Maine, as well as Robert Li with the United States Department of Agriculture.

The University of Maine findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE.

News of the study is also available on the website of the Wild Blueberry Association of North America.

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