AntioxydantBleuet sauvage/Vaccinium angustifoliumPhytonutrients

Health effects of eating berries

Quebec’s boreal forest is an abundant source of compounds useful for the treatment and prevention of various diseases

We already knew the benefits of a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables for the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Canada’s Food Guide recommends consuming between 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Indeed, consuming these recommended amounts reduces the risk of the appearance of several diseases. Quebec’s boreal forest, which has more than 850 species of vascular plants (10), is an abundant source of compounds useful for the treatment and prevention of various diseases.

Plaquebière, chicoutai is a fruit with a very high content of vitamin C
Plaquebière is very strong in vitamin C

Several plants in this vast ecosystem contain a high concentration of antioxidant compounds. Wild dwarf blueberry, platebière, cranberry macrocarpon and its close cousin lingonberry vitis-idaea are reputable for their high content of antioxidant compounds and, therefore, are often considered references at this level. Numerous studies show that the antioxidants found in boreal berries have remarkable protective properties (10–58).

Several studies have also shown that for a healthy person, eating fruits rich in antioxidants reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. (Ref 2, 3 W). Since the publication of these results, the phenolic compounds of fruits have been the subject of much work aimed at enhancing their nutritional and biological properties. Thus, in recent years, several techniques have been proposed to concentrate and purify antioxidants from fruits and even to produce synthetic compounds from them highlighting that the consumption of fruits and berries allows the maintenance of a balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants.

Berries generally have much higher concentrations of antioxidants than other fruits with compounds of high nutritional value.

Although berries are referred to as small only according to criteria of mass or volume, studies show that these small fruits generally present much higher concentrations than other fruits with compounds of high nutritional value, such as antioxidants, vitamins C and E. Among these berries, we note the wild blueberry, lingonberry idaea and cranberry macrocarpon. These berries are of particular interest, from an organoleptic and medicinal point of view especially for their high concentration of antioxidants.

Phytonutrient Canada

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