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Berry Roundup

January 23, 2009

Scientists are discovering the compounds in colorful fruit that help fight cancer and heart disease.


Fighting disease with fruit. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

While most scientists agree that brightly colored fruits are good for you, they are still trying to figure out what compounds are responsible and how they work. At the University of Michigan, researchers fed grape powder to rats that were on a high salt diet—a big risk factor in heart disease. After eighteen weeks, the rats that got the grape powder had lower blood pressure, less inflammation and less heart damage than the other rats. The scientists are studying compounds called flavanoids which they think are responsible.

In other research, Ohio State scientists have found that purple anthocyanin compounds from black raspberries prevent throat cancer in rats. The compound alone was as effective as eating whole berries. Their goal is to isolate key cancer-fighting constituents, and test them on human cancer tissue. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.