Magazine article USA TODAY

Fruits Are "Berry" Good for Your Health

Magazine article USA TODAY

Fruits Are "Berry" Good for Your Health

Article excerpt

Research suggests that compounds which give colorful fruits their rich hues, especially berries, promote health and even might prevent cancer but, for the first time, scientists have exposed extracts from numerous berries high in those pigments to human saliva to see just what kinds of health-promoting substances are likely to survive and be produced in the mouth. The research is published in Food Chemistry.

While It is too early to name the best berry for health promotion based on this initial work, researchers have discovered that two families of pigments that provide berries with their colors, called anthocyanins, are more susceptible to degradation in the mouth than are the other four classes of these pigments.

Bacteria living in the mouth are responsible for most of the breakdown of these compounds that occurs in saliva. Scientists are investigating whether it is the berry pigments themselves, or instead the products of their degradation, that actually promote health. Scientists say that these early findings will contribute to the further development of confectionaries, gums, and other delivery devices for the prevention and possibly the treatment of conditions such as periodontal disease and oral cancers. …

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