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Queen Garnet Plum Powder & Juice: Health Benefits Linked to Anthocyanins


Queen Garnet Plum

The Queen Garnet is a dark purple plum variety that was accidentally created by Australian plant breeders who were trying to make a disease-resistant version of the common Japanese plum for the Queensland Government. Now owned by the Queensland Government and marketed by Nutrafruit Pty Ltd, the purple Queen Garnet plum has been hailed as a superfood thanks to the exceptionally high levels of anthocyanins it contains. In fact, according to an article published by the University of Southern Queensland, the Queen Garnet plum has up to five times the levels of anthocyanins present in regular plums. As the Queen Garnet plum is relatively cheap to grow compared to some of the famous anthocyanin-rich berries, and as everbody loves cheap "superfoods" that are available year round, we can definitely expect to see long-term demand for products like Queen Garnet plum powder and Queen Garnet juice.

In this article, we will review some of the research that has looked at the health benefits of Queen Garnet plum anthocyanins and anthocyanins derived from other foods that are rich in these health-giving compounds. Note that the Queen Garnet plum should not be confused with the kakadu plum, a vitamin C rich superfood that is grown in the tropical woodlands of Australia and sold in the US and UK in the form of juice.


Health Benefits Associazed with Anthocyanin-Rich Fruits and Berries

Ranging from black and blue to various shades of red and purple, anthocyanins are flavonoid pigments that have been associated with a number of potential health benefits, including:

Weight Loss Benefits

Led by Professor Lindsay Brown from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, a team of researchers discovered that purple plum juice made from Queen Garnet plums reversed obesity-related problems in rats that were fed a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. In the above-mentioned article published by the University of Southern Queensland, Brown is quoted saying: "Anthocyanins are very effective anti-inflammatory agents and obesity is a chronic, low intensity inflammatory disorder". But this is hardly the first time scientists have examined the potential weight loss benefits of anthocyanins. In one study, published in The FASEB Journal, mice that were fed a low-fat diet, supplemented with anthocyanin-rich aronia berry juice concentrate, were found to have lower body weights and less epididymal fat than mice that were fed a low-fat diet without the juice concentrate.

Anti-Diabetic Effects

A study published in the journal Food Chemistry suggests anthocyanins might also have anti-diabetic effects. This study, which was carried out by scientists from Rutgers University and North Carolina State University, found that a standardized anthocyanin-rich formulation extracted from maqui berries improved fasting blood glucose levels and glucose tolerance in hyperglycemic, obese mice that were fed a high fat diet. A treatment with maqui berry anthocyanins was also found to increase both insulin mediated and non-insulin mediated glucose uptake in insulin-sensitive muscle cells. In another study, published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, an extract derived from aronia berries had blood sugar lowering effects in pre-diabetic rats.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

A study published in the September 2001 issue of the journal Phytomedicine found that anthocyanins from sweet cherries and raspberries had cyclooxygenase-inhibiting activities, similar to those of some common anti-inflammatory drugs. Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that plays a key role in the production of prostaglandins, chemical messengers that promote inflammation. In other study, published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Carcinogenesis, mice suffering from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, were treated with anthocyanin-rich freeze-dried black raspberries for seven days. The result? A significant drop in pro-inflammatory cytokines levels! In yet another study, published in the April 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, an anthocyanin-rich extract derived from black elderberries was found to improve inflammatory markers as well as insulin resistance in obese mice that were fed a high fat diet.

Cardiovascular Benefits

An in-vitro study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that anthocyanin-rich extracts from aronia berries and bilberries, but not elderberries, induced relaxation in isolated porcine coronary arteries, with the aronia berry extracts exhibiting the highest potency, suggesting that these extracts might offer protection against cardiovascular disease. Another study, published in the Journal of Functional Foods in 2015, found that anthocyanin-rich Queen Garnet plum juice had anti-thrombotic activity in humans, meaning that it is capable of reducing the formation of blood clots. The researchers concluded that consumption of anthocyanin-rich Queen Garnet plum juice may offer potential benefits in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and may be considered a complementary anti-platelet therapy in people susceptible to developing blood clots.


Queen Garnet Plums Rival Elderberries and Aronia Berries as a Source of Anthocyanins

Blueberries are a particularly famous source of anthocyanins; however, they are by no means the best source of these health-promoting flavonoids. Black elderberries and aronia berries, for example, contain much more anthocyanins than blueberries, and according to this paper, Queen Garnet plums rival elderberries and aronia berries as a source of anthocyanins. However, when it comes to the very best natural sources of anthocyanins, maqui berries may be the ultimate champion. According to a study published in the Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research, the anthocyanin content of maqui berries is many times higher than that of elderberries. Maqui berries are available in dried, powdered form in many health food stores across North America and the UK, but you can also maqui berry powder through Amazon here (if you live in the US) or here (if you live in the UK).


References:
1. J. Baum et al (2013). The effect of black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) on the prevention of obesity in C57BL/6J mice. The FASEB Journal. 2013;27:861.4.
2. L. Rojo et al (2012). In vitro and in vivo anti-diabetic effects of anthocyanins from Maqui Berry (Aristotelia chilensis). Food Chemistry, 131(2), 38-396.
3. A. Jurgonski, J. Juskiewicz and Z. Zdunczyk (2008). Ingestion of black chokeberry fruit extract leads to intestinal and systemic changes in a rat model of prediabetes and hyperlipidemia. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 63(4):176-82.
4. D. Montrose et al (2011). Anti-inflammatory effects of freeze-dried black raspberry powder in ulcerative colitis. Carcinogenesis, 32(3), 343-350.
5. N. Farrell et al (2015). Anthocyanin-rich Black Elderberry Extract improves Inflammatory Markers and Insulin Resistance in a High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity Model of Mice. The FASEB Journal, 29(1), 402.1.
6. D. Bell and K. Gochenaur (2006). Direct vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of anthocyanin-rich extracts. Journal of Applied Physiology, 100(4), 1164-1170.
7. A. Santhakumar et al (2015). The potential of anthocyanin-rich Queen Garnet plum juice supplementation in alleviating thrombotic risk under induced oxidative stress conditions. Journal of Functional Foods, 14, 747-757.
8. J. Guerrero et al (2010). Antioxidant capacity, anthocyanins, and total phenols of wild and cultivated berries in Chile. Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research, 70(4), 537-544.




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