What are ellagitannins and how to eat them
It’s berry season with a feast of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries readily available. All contain ellagitannins, which converts into ellagic acid in the body. Ellagic acid is a natural phenol antioxidant found in numerous fruits and vegetables. Other good sources include cranberries, grapes, walnuts, pecan nuts, pomegranates and peaches. Most ellagic acid in strawberries and raspberries is found in the seeds and pulp, with much lower amounts in the juices, so always try to eat the whole fruit.
It’s the antiproliferative and antioxidant properties of ellagic acid that has prompted research into its potential health benefits. In laboratory studies ellagic acid has been shown to prevent certain cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and skin. While more research is needed, we do know that as with other polyphenol antioxidants, ellagic acid has a chemo protective effect in cellular models by reducing oxidative stress. Ellagic acid prevents the binding of carcinogens to DNA and strengthens connective tissue, which could aid in keeping cancer cells from spreading. Ellagic acid also appears to have also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Note: Supplements – always consult your doctor. Those containing ellagic acid are synthesised – why not just enjoy the berries!
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