Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2015/03/17
Synopsis: Nutritional value of eating berries for health and fitness including information on berry medicinal uses.
The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors. Grapes are also a kind of berry.
The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single flower and containing one ovary. Grapes and bananas are two common examples. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels. The seeds are usually embedded in the fleshy interior of the ovary, but there are some non-fleshy exceptions, such as peppers, that have air rather than pulp around their seeds.
The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary.
Many berries, such as the tomato, are edible, but others in the same family, such as the fruits of the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) and the fruits of the potato (Solanum tuberosum) are poisonous to humans.
Some berries such as Capsicum have space rather than pulp around their seeds.
Berry colors are due to natural plant pigments, many of which are polyphenols such as the flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannins localized mainly in berry skins and seeds.
Berry pigments are usually antioxidants in vitro and thus have oxygen radical absorbency capacity ("ORAC") that is high among plant foods.
One cup of blueberries offers a smaller amount of vitamin C, minerals and phytochemicals for only 83 calories. The same amount of cranberries is similar, but with only 44 calories, 1 cup of raspberries offers vitamin C and potassium for 64 calories.
Together with good nutrient content, ORAC derived in the laboratory distinguishes several berries within a new category of functional foods called "superfruits". However, there is no physiological evidence established to date that berry polyphenols have actual antioxidant value within the human body and it remains invalid to claim that polyphenols have antioxidant health value on product labels in the United States and Europe.
Most berries are naturally sweet and require little effort to prepare. Just rinse them under water and serve for a nutritious snack or dessert.
Buffaloberry May Be Next Super Fruit
New research has uncovered an underutilized berry that could be the new super fruit, the buffaloberry.
A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), found that buffaloberries contain large amounts of lycopene and a related acidic compound, methyl-lycopenoate, which are important antioxidants and nutrients beneficial for human health.
The bright red fruit has a tart flavor, and has historically been used as a source of nutrients for many Native Americans.
The tree on which the fruit grows is a member of the olive family native to Western North America and is found on many Indian reservations, often where little else grows well.
The findings of the study suggest that buffaloberry might be successfully grown as a new commercial crop on American Indian reservations; one which would be a good source of nutrition as well as providing a viable new product in an area in need of economic development.