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Research on the effects of berries on obesity and metabolic syndrome is in its very early stages. Ronald Prior, Ph.D., of the USDA Agricultural Research Center at Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center described animal studies exploring the effects of feeding whole berries and berry anthocyanins as part of a high fat diet. Strawberry anthocyanins were effective in preventing obesity and correcting the dyslipidemia and hyperpeptinemia of obesity.

Anthocyanins have also been shown to be present in ocular tissues and may improve night vision. Other eye health issues, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, may benefit from the antioxidant activity of berries.

Overall, the Symposium demonstrated that there is a valid scientific basis for considering berries to be superfruits. California strawberries are grown year- round and are available in supermarkets across the country so can be easily incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. And, as America’s favorite fruit, they have the taste profile that makes strawberries an easy daily choice

More information on the 2009 Berry Health Benefits Symposium can be found at http://www.berryhealth.org.

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