Buffaloberries, the new superfruit and cancer-fighter

BuffaloberriesNewSuperfruitNot many people have yet heard of the buffaloberry, but it’s beginning to be called the newest superfruit.

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), say that buffaloberries contain great amounts of lycopene–much more than tomatoes–, as well as an acidic compound (methyl-lycopenoate), which are important antioxidants and nutrients beneficial for general human health. In addition, the berries contain many other phenolic antioxidants with the potential to lower the risk of certain types of cancer and lowering cellular aging.

Researchers for the study gathered the tiny, red, slightly bitter berries in North and South Dakota, where they have been a traditional food staple for Native Americans for many generations. The buffaloberry bush has been found on several Indian reservations in the western United States, often where little else grows well.

The hardy shrubs can grow just about anywhere, even in arid climates with poor soil. Because of this, it has been suggested that buffaloberries have the potential of becoming a commercial food crop on Indian reservations.

The buffaloberry is a member of the olive family and is also known by the names bullberry, soapberry and foamberry (the names indicative of uses the natives made of them). The berries have also been used in traditional coloring of fabrics and food and, like raisins, are excellent dried fruit.

 

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