New USDA Study Shows Blueberries' Anti-Aging Potential

-- The #1 Antioxidant Activity Fruit May Help Fight

The Effects of Aging --



Sep 14, 1999, 01:00 ET from Wild Blueberry Association of North America

    BAR HARBOR, Maine, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a USDA study to
 be published in the September 15 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, a diet
 rich in blueberry extract reversed some loss of balance and coordination, and
 improved short-term memory in aging rats.  Ranked #1 among fresh or frozen
 fruits and vegetables in antioxidant power, blueberries are being studied more
 closely by researchers for their documented anti-aging potential.  This
 particular USDA study is the first to actually demonstrate a reversal in
 dysfunctions of behavior, going farther than earlier studies which linked
 high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables to prevention of function loss only.
     "This is a research breakthrough," says John Sauve, Executive Director of
 the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) in reaction to the
 release of the USDA study.  "With the graying of America being one of the most
 significant health discussions today, this type of research goes a long way
 toward helping us understand the importance of fruits and vegetables in the
 anti-aging equation," says Sauve.  "With consumer interest focused on eating
 foods that help prevent disease, blueberries are now in the spotlight as a
 'good for you food,'" added Sauve.  "For great taste, antioxidant power, and
 potential anti-aging benefits, there's no better choice than a daily dose of
 Wild Blueberries.  I expect that the demand for frozen Wild Blueberries and
 Wild Blueberry products will increase in supermarkets across the country."
 
     Anti-Aging Properties Explored
     Dr. James Joseph, Chief of the neuroscience laboratory at the Jean Mayer
 USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) on Aging at Tufts University, and Barbara
 Shukitt-Hale, a psychologist with the HNRCA, fed blueberry, strawberry or
 spinach extract to 19 month-old rats, age-equivalent to 65 or 70 year-old
 humans.  According to the study, all three extracts improved short-term
 memory, but only blueberry extract improved balance and coordination.
     In the Tufts trials, Dr. Joseph and his colleagues fed aged rats a
 blueberry extract for two months and saw improved navigation skills in mazes
 as well as improvements in balance, coordination and running speed.  According
 to Joseph, as rats age, they typically forget how to maneuver through mazes
 that they previously had learned to navigate.  "I'm struck by the changes we
 saw in motor behavior in the rats fed the blueberry diet.  This is the first
 study that demonstrates a significant reversal in coordination and balance --
 some of the first things to go as you age," says Joseph.
     According to Dr. Joseph, the blueberry has emerged as a very powerful food
 in the aging battle.  "I make a point of tossing a handful of blueberries into
 a protein drink in the morning to start the day off right," says Joseph.
 "Given the possibility that blueberries may reverse short-term memory loss and
 forestall other effects of aging, their potential may be very great," added
 Joseph.
     Ongoing research will focus on identifying the specific compounds
 responsible for blueberries' beneficial effects.  While the rats ate blueberry
 extract, researchers are interested in finding out more about the whole fruit
 which may contain even more benefits.  "We're excited about what we may
 discover," says Shukitt-Hale.  "From what we've seen with blueberries so far,
 they appear to be very powerful and a key component of a healthy diet."
 
     Nature's Antioxidant Powerhouse
     Studies conducted by Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D, at the Jean Mayer USDA Human
 Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University, ranked blueberries number one
 in antioxidant activity when compared with 40 other commercially available
 fruits and vegetables.
 (Source: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 44:701-705; 3426-3343,
 1996; 46:2686-2693, 1998)
     Antioxidants are natural substances found in fruits and vegetables which
 neutralize free radicals -- unstable oxygen molecules associated with cancer,
 heart disease and the effects of aging.
     Scientists attribute these benefits to anthocyanins and other natural
 compounds (phytochemicals) found in Wild Blueberries.  Anthocyanins (from two
 Greek words meaning "plant" and "blue") are responsible for the intense blue
 and red pigments of fruits like Wild Blueberries.
     "One-half cup of blueberries delivers as much antioxidant power as five
 servings of other fruits and vegetables -- such as peas, carrots, apples,
 squash and broccoli," says Dr. Prior.  "While variety is still the key to a
 healthy diet, I'm eating blueberries regularly."
 
     Nature's Tastiest Way To Get Your Antioxidants
     Wild Blueberries, which are commercially harvested only in Maine and
 Eastern Canada, are available year-round.  According to WBANA's Sauve, one-
 half cup of Wild Blueberries equals one serving under the 5-A-Day guidelines.
 "For great taste and convenience, we encourage consumers to choose frozen Wild
 Blueberries to get their Daily Dose of Blue, and help meet the 5-A-Day goal
 for healthy eating," says Sauve.  With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
 finding frozen fruit equal to, or, in some cases, surpassing fresh fruit from
 a health and nutrition standpoint, WBANA anticipates the retail frozen fruit
 business to represent a growth opportunity for the industry.
     WBANA is an international trade association of growers and processors of
 Wild Blueberries from Maine and Canada.
 
 

SOURCE Wild Blueberry Association of North America
    BAR HARBOR, Maine, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a USDA study to
 be published in the September 15 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, a diet
 rich in blueberry extract reversed some loss of balance and coordination, and
 improved short-term memory in aging rats.  Ranked #1 among fresh or frozen
 fruits and vegetables in antioxidant power, blueberries are being studied more
 closely by researchers for their documented anti-aging potential.  This
 particular USDA study is the first to actually demonstrate a reversal in
 dysfunctions of behavior, going farther than earlier studies which linked
 high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables to prevention of function loss only.
     "This is a research breakthrough," says John Sauve, Executive Director of
 the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) in reaction to the
 release of the USDA study.  "With the graying of America being one of the most
 significant health discussions today, this type of research goes a long way
 toward helping us understand the importance of fruits and vegetables in the
 anti-aging equation," says Sauve.  "With consumer interest focused on eating
 foods that help prevent disease, blueberries are now in the spotlight as a
 'good for you food,'" added Sauve.  "For great taste, antioxidant power, and
 potential anti-aging benefits, there's no better choice than a daily dose of
 Wild Blueberries.  I expect that the demand for frozen Wild Blueberries and
 Wild Blueberry products will increase in supermarkets across the country."
 
     Anti-Aging Properties Explored
     Dr. James Joseph, Chief of the neuroscience laboratory at the Jean Mayer
 USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) on Aging at Tufts University, and Barbara
 Shukitt-Hale, a psychologist with the HNRCA, fed blueberry, strawberry or
 spinach extract to 19 month-old rats, age-equivalent to 65 or 70 year-old
 humans.  According to the study, all three extracts improved short-term
 memory, but only blueberry extract improved balance and coordination.
     In the Tufts trials, Dr. Joseph and his colleagues fed aged rats a
 blueberry extract for two months and saw improved navigation skills in mazes
 as well as improvements in balance, coordination and running speed.  According
 to Joseph, as rats age, they typically forget how to maneuver through mazes
 that they previously had learned to navigate.  "I'm struck by the changes we
 saw in motor behavior in the rats fed the blueberry diet.  This is the first
 study that demonstrates a significant reversal in coordination and balance --
 some of the first things to go as you age," says Joseph.
     According to Dr. Joseph, the blueberry has emerged as a very powerful food
 in the aging battle.  "I make a point of tossing a handful of blueberries into
 a protein drink in the morning to start the day off right," says Joseph.
 "Given the possibility that blueberries may reverse short-term memory loss and
 forestall other effects of aging, their potential may be very great," added
 Joseph.
     Ongoing research will focus on identifying the specific compounds
 responsible for blueberries' beneficial effects.  While the rats ate blueberry
 extract, researchers are interested in finding out more about the whole fruit
 which may contain even more benefits.  "We're excited about what we may
 discover," says Shukitt-Hale.  "From what we've seen with blueberries so far,
 they appear to be very powerful and a key component of a healthy diet."
 
     Nature's Antioxidant Powerhouse
     Studies conducted by Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D, at the Jean Mayer USDA Human
 Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University, ranked blueberries number one
 in antioxidant activity when compared with 40 other commercially available
 fruits and vegetables.
 (Source: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 44:701-705; 3426-3343,
 1996; 46:2686-2693, 1998)
     Antioxidants are natural substances found in fruits and vegetables which
 neutralize free radicals -- unstable oxygen molecules associated with cancer,
 heart disease and the effects of aging.
     Scientists attribute these benefits to anthocyanins and other natural
 compounds (phytochemicals) found in Wild Blueberries.  Anthocyanins (from two
 Greek words meaning "plant" and "blue") are responsible for the intense blue
 and red pigments of fruits like Wild Blueberries.
     "One-half cup of blueberries delivers as much antioxidant power as five
 servings of other fruits and vegetables -- such as peas, carrots, apples,
 squash and broccoli," says Dr. Prior.  "While variety is still the key to a
 healthy diet, I'm eating blueberries regularly."
 
     Nature's Tastiest Way To Get Your Antioxidants
     Wild Blueberries, which are commercially harvested only in Maine and
 Eastern Canada, are available year-round.  According to WBANA's Sauve, one-
 half cup of Wild Blueberries equals one serving under the 5-A-Day guidelines.
 "For great taste and convenience, we encourage consumers to choose frozen Wild
 Blueberries to get their Daily Dose of Blue, and help meet the 5-A-Day goal
 for healthy eating," says Sauve.  With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
 finding frozen fruit equal to, or, in some cases, surpassing fresh fruit from
 a health and nutrition standpoint, WBANA anticipates the retail frozen fruit
 business to represent a growth opportunity for the industry.
     WBANA is an international trade association of growers and processors of
 Wild Blueberries from Maine and Canada.
 
 SOURCE  Wild Blueberry Association of North America