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Poor Man's Juice Rich in Antioxidants

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The next new exotic fruit craze may well be Brazil’s a? berry

The next new exotic fruit craze may well be Brazil’s a? berry. This fruit of a palm plant, grown in the fertile flood plains of the Amazon River, has been consumed as a “poor man’s juice” by South Americans for centuries. The prolific fruit is a deep purple colour and
contains the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries, kidney beans, and plums.

Just this year, researchers at the University of Florida investigated the a? berry in order to test some health claims attributed to it. They found that cultivated human leukemia cells, when exposed to various concentrations of the berry, died (perhaps due to a self-destruct mechanism), in 56 to 86 percent of the cells.

Researchers are quick to clarify that this study does not prove a? berries prevent leukemia and stated, “We are encouraged by the findings. Compounds that show good activity against cancer cells in a culture model system are most likely to have beneficial effects in
our bodies.”

Other preliminary research shows that the anthocyanins only make up 10 percent of the a? berry’s antioxidant profile and other, as yet unknown, compounds may have a synergistic effect. In the meantime most health claims for the fruit remain untested and researchers are recommending the consumption of colourful fruits and vegetables as part of a continued healthy diet.

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