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Antioxidants in Berries May Protect Against Diabetes, Inflammation

Researchers at the University of Illinois evaluated the bioactive compounds found in wines made from blueberries and blackberries and found that these tasty beverages contain compounds that can help people with diabetes. Graduate student Michelle Johnson analyzed the nutritional value of 19 Illinois wines containing a blueberry-blackberry blend and discovered that these contain bioactive compounds that inhibit enzymes responsible for carbohydrate degradation and absorption.

Elvira de Mejia, co-author and a professor of food chemistry and food toxicology, states that the scientists compared the effects of the active compound in inhibiting the enzymes with those of an anti-diabetes drug (Acarbose), and found that it may be effective in reducing blood sugar.

Johnson also quantified the polyphenol and anthocyanin (antioxidants) content of blueberry and blackberry wines in a second study, to find out if these can reduce markers of inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to the development of many chronic illnesses, including metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. De Mejia states that preliminary studies suggest that anthocyanins have beneficial effects on brain health and protective effects against memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. As a food chemist, she plans to dealcoholize wines while leaving the sugar-degrading compounds, the antioxidant anthocyanins, and other valuable components in a functional and tasty drink for diabetics and others.

She also suggests that these bioactive ingredients could also be added to any beverage to enhance its color, flavor, and nutritional value, making them useful to the food industry.


University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Drink made from berry wine may provide tasty drug for diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2012.





Posted in: Alzheimer's disease, Anthocyanins, Anti-diabetes, Antioxidants, Brain Health, Diabetes Treatment, Memory Loss, News Briefs

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