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When it comes to our health, the term “superfood” gets thrown around a lot. In recent years we have become even more obsessed with the idea of specific foods or drinks that could help prevent or even treat certain conditions.

Typically these will be foods packed with vitamins, minerals or antioxidants that are known to have a staggering number of health benefits.

Now a study has named another potential “superfood” that scientists say could help protect against diabetes and obesity.

According to research, berries from the sea buckthorn shrub, found in several parts of the world, are a rich source of natural antioxidants.

These small orange berries grow on a thorny plant found all along the coasts of northwestern Europe and temperate regions of central Asia. However, they have also been grown commercially in Canada since the 2000s.

The berries and leaves of the sea buckthorn are already widely used for their nutritional, pharmaceutical and functional properties.

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins E, B, and A and polyphenols.

But now a study, published in the SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, has found that specifically growing the berries in Canada could open the doors to even more health benefits.

Study author and PhD student at the University of Newfoundland, Renan Danielski, explained: “Sea buckthorn is a unique crop with vast potential for utilisation.

“Popular in Asia and northwestern Europe, there is an opportunity to replicate this success in North America by leveraging the unique qualities of locally grown varieties.”

As part of the study, the researchers set out to characterise the unique composition of polyphenols, a class of compounds with antioxidative properties, in Canadian cultivars.

The study’s findings highlight the presence of key polyphenolic compounds in sea buckthorn pomace and seeds, each boasting potential health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection to anti-inflammatory properties.

Importantly, geographical factors influence the polyphenolic profile of sea buckthorn berries, with the researchers identifying several distinct compounds with enhanced bioactivity which are only contained in the sea buckthorn cultivar grown in Newfoundland.

Moreover, the sea buckthorn extracts demonstrated promising in vitro antidiabetic and anti-obesity potential, paving the way for further investigation into their mechanisms and potential therapeutic applications.

Danielski commented: “This is a first step in understanding how sea buckthorn polyphenols can modulate our physiology in a beneficial manner.

“Future research needs to focus on understanding the mechanisms behind those effects and further experimentation using animal models and humans.”

This could result in the berries being used to treat serious medical conditions.

“If these effects are confirmed in vivo, we can envision the use of sea buckthorn polyphenols for therapeutic and pharmacological purposes, aiding in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, obesity, and many other conditions,” he added.

#Incredible #littleknown #superfood #berry #slash #diabetes #obesity #risk

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