So, what is working behind the scenes of dark berries red grapes? The very dark color of these fruit represents an abundance of phytonutrients and specifically anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol. These agents are known to protect against disease - individually as well as collectively. Studies show a wide variety of health benefits such as cancer prevention, cardiac health and even age related protection against memory loss. The consumption of these foods is also associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction and increased insulin sensitivity in obese people.
Anthocyanins are responsible for the deep blue and purple color in plant tissues which attract some animals for the purpose of pollination or the dispersal of seeds. It is very rich in antioxidants making it very beneficial for heart health and the prevention of cancer. It increases the enzymes which support the detoxification process in the liver as well as elimination of toxic metals which improved the health of people suffering from high blood lipids. Anthocyanins are mainly found in beets, dark berries and cherries, pomegranate, plums, eggplant (also known as brain food) red cabbage, red grapes, red onions, black beans black seeds and black rice.
Ellagic acid is a natural chemical compound which fights cancer in many ways. Cancer starts when carcinogenic factors in our bodies attack the DNA of our cells which promotes cell division at a higher rate than normal cells. These fast dividing cancerous cells then invade normal tissue as tumors. This causes the active disease which kills so many people in the western world today. Ellagic acid protects against the binding of the carcinogens to our DNA. Consequently, it protects DNA from free radical damage (oxidative stress). Once a cell becomes cancerous, the immune system of the body will detect it and set off a series of events to kill this cell, called programmed cell death or apoptosis. Ellagic acid promotes this mechanism too while normal cells are protected. There is also proof in the literature ellagic acid could relieve some of the bad side effects of chemotherapy when patients are in treatment protocols in the allopathic medical system which is very damaging to your health in general. This study was done on men who received treatment for prostate cancer. One study done on mice suggests the potential of ellagic acid application as a useful memory restorative agent in the treatment of dementia seen in elderly people.
Fruit with the highest amounts of ellagic acid are wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate and cranberries. It is also found in walnuts, pecans, guavas and some fungi.
Resveratrol is a chemical compound found in certain plants to protect them against both bacteria and fungi.
Many researchers have shown resveratrol to have many health benefits. These benefits include the following:
· Cardiac health promotion through its positive effects on hypertension, blood lipid profiles as well as blood clotting.
· Anti-inflammatory effects which today is recognized as the initial cause of many auto immune diseases in the western world such as MS, Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
· Anti-cancer effects because of the anti-oxidant effect as well as the killing off of cancerous cells (apoptosis as described above).
Although red wine (made from red grapes) is the best known dietary source of resveratrol, it is also found in raspberries, mulberries, blueberries and cranberries. Most resveratrol supplements are derived from Japanese knotweed.
An interesting fact is that resveratrol supplements at lower dosages are more beneficial for cardiac health while it promotes cancer cell death at higher dosages . Eating these berries and even drinking red wine as part of a balanced diet will still be much better for your health than trying to heal any disease with the use of supplements. These supplements lack the combination of other nutrients and enzymes which optimize the nutritional value of any individual substance found in these fruits.