Wild Blueberries and Antioxidants

The Science of the SuperFruit

The wide range of natural antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables helps our bodies protect against disease and age-related health risks. Wild blueberries are especially rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant capacity. Highly concentrated in the deep-blue pigments of wild blueberries, anthocyanin is responsible for both color and powerful health protection potential.


The power is in the pigment

Anthocyanins are the plant compounds found in the skin of the Wild Blueberry that give them their pretty purply blue hue. A growing body of research suggests anthocyanins work to reduce inflammation and are beneficial to humans. Wild blueberries have 33% more anthocyanins than ordinary Blueberries—giving you a big leg up when it comes to keeping your brain and body running strong.

See the Research

Wild blueberries + anthocyanins. Feed your brain the good stuff.

The Antioxidant Leader

Using a lab testing procedure called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), USDA researcher Ronald Prior, Ph.D., found that a one-cup serving of wild blueberries has more total antioxidant capacity (TAC) than 20 other fruits and veggies, including cranberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries, and even cultivated blueberries.

In fact, wild blueberries have 2x the antioxidant power of ordinary blueberries, offering more of what it takes to combat disease and promote healthy aging.

Mean Scores for Total ORAC µmol TE/100 g and TP mg GAE/100 g

Antioxidants are a hot topic today because they help our bodies protect against age-related health risks. Every day, our cells wage a battle against free radicals—unstable oxygen molecules that are a normal byproduct of metabolism. When you aren’t getting enough antioxidants in your diet, free radicals can build up in your body, causing oxidative stress, which is associated with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases of aging.

The Anti-Aging Power of Blue

Dietary antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavonoids found in the blue pigments of wild blueberries, have the ability to neutralize free radicals and help prevent cell damage. Antioxidants also protect against inflammation, thought to be a leading factor in brain aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative diseases.

Measuring Antioxidants

Wild blueberries emerged as the leader in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) per serving using a laboratory research procedure called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC. The ORAC procedure was developed by Dr. Guihua Cao, a physician and chemist at the USDA Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston. In 2010, USDA ORAC studies showed that a serving of wild blueberries provides twice the antioxidant capacity of larger, cultivated blueberries.

A recent advancement in the measurement of antioxidant activity in foods is the cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay, developed by the Cornell University Department of Food Science. The CAA assay provides information on the uptake, metabolism, distribution and activity of antioxidant compounds in cells. Lead researcher Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D., used the CAA assay to determine that wild blueberries performed better in cells than cranberries, apples and both red and green grapes.

Measuring Total Phenolic Content

Building on previous work that provided measures of antioxidants and antioxidant activity of various fruits and vegetables, scientist Rui Hai Liu conducted a study to compare the total phenolic content of a wide variety of product items. Phenolics are a widely researched, large and diverse group of natural compounds produced in plants.

Journal of Food Science – Dietary Bioactive Compounds and Their Health Implications Rui Hai Liu Vol 78,51, 2013 (Total Phenolic Content Chart adapted from Yeung and others 2003; Wolfe and others 2008; Song and others 2010)

These compounds not only benefit the plants they are found in, but they are increasingly associated with potential health benefits when we consume them. Measuring their levels in foods is another way to attempt to ascertain their potential bioactivity in humans. Liu’s 2013 study found that, among the 25 fruits and 27 vegetables most commonly eaten in the U.S., wild blueberries had the highest total phenolic content per serving. Anthocyanins are a major contributor to the high level of phenolic compounds found in wild blueberries.

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