Berries, Nutrient Dense Foods, Antioxidants

Which berries have most antioxidants, best nutrition? All types of berries are nutrient dense foods, not just acai or blueberries.


By Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D., N.D. Dr. Pam Popper is a naturopath, nutritionist and the Executive Director of The Wellness Forum.

One of the more inaccurate claims made by companies and individuals selling healthy food products these days is that certain fruits, berries or juices are more nutritious and that eating or drinking these particular products offers a nutritional advantage over the every-day foods you might purchase at your local store.

Pam Popper PhD ND

I disagree with these marketing techniques for many reasons, one of which is that they mislead people into thinking that they can improve their nutrition with one healthy food. The science is clear that it is the totality of the diet that makes the difference, not the inclusion of a single food or juice.

My other issue is that all plant foods are nutrient dense foods; you do not need to stand in the produce section and ponder which apples you should buy or which berries  have the most antioxidants.  They are all good healthy foods, and some recent research at Ohio State University confirms this.

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Dr. Gary Stoner at OSU has been conducting research on whole berries and their ability to prevent the development of esophageal cancer in rodents.  His research is unusual in that he uses whole foods instead of looking for the magic bullet nutrient in the berries that has the causative effect.  He has used black raspberries in much of his research.

Stoner and his researchers took seven types of berries, including regular, every-day blueberries, strawberries and red raspberries, as well as noni, acai berries and wolfberries, which are represented to be far superior.  The berries were turned into freeze-dried powders and mixed into the rodents’ chow.

The result – all seven berries were equally effective in preventing the development of esophageal cancer in the rodents.  The researchers concluded that although black raspberries have a higher concentration of anthocyanins and ellagitannins than the other berries, “…each type of berry contains unique compounds that are responsible for their cancer protective effects,” said Dr. Stoner.

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The next time someone tries to sell you very expensive fruit or juice, claiming that it has better nutritional benefits than all other fruits, you’ll know better!

Kashappa Goud H. Desai, Karl F. Olsen, Susan R. Mallery, Gary D. Stoner and Steven P. SchwendemanFormulation and In Vitro-In Vivo Evaluation of Black Raspberry Extract-Loaded PLGA/PLA Injectable Millicylindrical Implants for Sustained Delivery of Chemopreventive Anthocyanins.”

Pharmaceutical Research, Volume 27, Number 4 / April, 2010

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