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A handful of berries a day could extend your life

Just a handful of berries a day could stave off those extra kilos and add years to your life.

A handful of berries a day could extend your life

Professor Yves Desjardins this week unveiled research showing evidence of bacteria in certain berries promoting weight-loss stimulating compounds in those who eat them every day.

Desjardins from the University of Laval in Canada has been studying the health benefits of berries for many years. Previous clinical trials involving giving overweight men a cup of cranberry juice every morning have indicated gradual weight loss, however it has not been until recently that Desjardins has been able to support these results with stronger evidence.

By giving mice between half a cup to a cup of berries including cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, Desjardins began to notice many differences in the guts of mice that were not given these foods: “We have specifically shown that cranberry extract can stimulate the colonisation of a species of bacteria called Akkermansia municiphilia that has been shown to be present in the gut on lean mice and those of obese mice,” he stated.

While it is still not clear just how many berries people would need to consume in order to notice similar effects, research is indicating that the microflora encouraged by berry consumption is also assisting in altering insulin sensitivity and hindering the development of type-2 diabetes in overweight people.

“When you are obese or have a bad ‘Mcdonald’s’ diet, the dominant type of bacteria in your gut becomes quite nasty and releases fatty acids which make you put on more weight… you need to restore the gut balance by encouraging another group of ‘good’ microbacteria,” says Desjardins.

Even if you maintain a bad diet, this research still indicates that those who consume a handful of berries each day are more likely to avoid these adverse health affects than those with bad diets who do not.

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