Fruits

As says an Old Italian proverb, ‘good tree makes good fruit’, in the true sense, a fruit is a product of a mature and healthy plant. The quality of fruit depends upon several factors including the planting procedure, environmental condition, breeding etc. However, high-quality fruits can be obtained from wild plants. Fruits are one of the healthiest food due to their dietary nutrients and gradually researchers invented the phytochemicals present in the fruits having multiple health benefits. Health benefits of fruits are wide and varied, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects. These health benefits of fruits have protective and therapeutic medicinal applications to combat different chronic diseases. [1] Some of the health benefits obtained from different wild fruits due to their phytochemical composition are discussed as below:

 

Health Benefits

Antioxidant

Free radicals are very reactive species like ROS and RNS. They are usually produced through metabolic activity of the body. The free radical accumulation of body leads to multiple degenerative diseases as they promote the aging process, impair natural immune system, trigger oncogenes production, persuade atherogenesis etc. Antioxidants are acting as a free radical scavenger and also prevent cellular accumulation. Wild blueberries, wild apples, and wild hawthorn fruits have potent antioxidant property. Anthocyanin, phenolic compound, polyphenols, α-tocopherol, β-carotene, vitamin C etc. present in most of the fruits are having an antioxidant effect. Researchers recommended that antioxidant activity depends upon the amount of these phytochemicals present in a fruit. For example, hyeronima macrocarpa has stronger antioxidant activity than Rubus megalococcus and Myrciaria aft cauliflora, because hyeronima macrocarpa contains more anthocyanin than other two.  

Research findings showed that peels of citrus fruits have antioxidant potency composite lied in between 58.84 to 98.89. Whereas, fruits belong to Malus species have strongest antioxidant activity. Moreover, different research studies showed the difference of antioxidant property of a cultivated and wild variety of same fruits; for example, researchers found that the antioxidant, flavonoid, and phenolic contents in wild lime (Citrus hystrix) is higher than the cultivated ones. [1]

 

Antimicrobial effect

Garlic is one of the most established natural antibiotics. However several other fruits like wild yellow azarole fruit peel, wild mahaleb cherry are effective to inhibit a wide range of bacteria. mahaleb cherry also has an antimicrobial effect. Polyphenols, phenolic compounds, and anthocyanins are three detected phytochemicals present in different fruits, which have an antimicrobial effect. Hawthorn (C. apiifolia) also has a vast antimicrobial activity due to the presence of phytochemical known as protoanemonin. Scabiosa species fruits have both antibacterial and antifungal activity. The antimicrobial effect of tamarind fruit (Tamarindus indica) inhibits five bacteria and three fungi species. Strawberry, raspberry, bilberry, and lingonberry have an antiviral effect due to their anthocyanin content. [1]

 

Anti-inflammatory activity

Inflammation is associated with different chronic conditions, including atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, bone arthritis, asthma, migraine pain, periodontitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and fatigue syndrome. Alteration of the immune system due to different inflammatory mediators causes these inflammations. Several fruits mainly, a variety of barriers have an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting nitric oxide, chemokine ligand 20 ((CCL20) production, lipoxygenase and Cyclooxygenase activity, blocking NF kB and other inflammatory mediators TNF-α, and interleukins.   

Apart from berries, Mistol (Ziziphus mistol), Cattley guava (Psidium cattleyanum), bitter melon (Momordica charantia), Tree Tomato (Solanum betaceum) etc also have a potent anti-inflammatory effect. The detected phytochemicals present in these fruits are anthocyanin, a polyphenolic compound, ursolic acid analogs, phenolic acids, phytol and lutein and mainly responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect. Tree Tomato blocks pain stimuli against inflammatory pain syndrome. [1]

 

Anticancer Activity

Anti-proliferative activities of fruits are effective to provide the anticancer effect. Proanthocyanidin is a phytochemical comes from polyphenol class. Polymerized catechin, epicatechin, and epicatechin gallate are present in Proanthocyanidin and provide antioxidant, antiproliferative effect and acts as a potent anticancer. Different research studies showed that fruits enriched with proanthocyanidin, phenolic compounds, essential oil are effective to provide anticancer activities against liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer etc. Berries are one of the most common fruit to provide the anticancer effect, but bitter melon, hawthorn etc. also have anticancer activities. [1]

 

Phytochemicals

Specific phytochemicals have particular bioactivity/ bioactivities. Anthocyanins, Phenolic compounds or polyphenols are mainly present in fruits. Cold press extraction, maceration and solvent extraction, Ultrasound-assisted extraction, Microwave-Assisted Extraction, Pressure assisted extractions, Pulsed Electric Fields are different phytochemical extraction techniques. [2] However, having whole fruits are more beneficial than fruit extract.  

 

Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins come under flavonoid group of phytochemical and specifically have antioxidant property. [3] Cyanidin, delphinidin, petunidin, peonidin, pelargonidin, and malvidin are most common anthocyanins.  Anthocyanidins in a combination of sugar molecules form different types of anthocyanins. 3-Glucosides of the anthocyanidins, cyanidin3-glucoside are two major red pigments present in berries. [3,4] Although, the presence of anthocyanidins provides red, blue and purple color to different plant parts. Anthocyanins are heat sensitive and provide several health benefits. [2]

  • They improve lipid profile and platelet functioning, inhibit platelets aggregation, provide vasorelaxation, decrease ischemic susceptibility to heart; all together they prevent CHD and promote cardiac vascular functioning.
  • Anti-proliferation, anti-inflammation, and anti-angiogenesis activities of anthocyanins provide the anticancer effect.
  • Anthocyanins activate AMP-activated protein kinase and improve hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity in diabetes. Antioxidant property prevents diabetes-related complications.
  • Anthocyanins improve eye health by increasing blood circulation to optic tissue but does not increase optic pressure.  They also prevent retinal degeneration and inflammatory conditions.
  • Reduce weight gain, fat tissue gain, and obesity-related metabolic disorders by improving lipid profile. Gram-negative bacterial growth is suppressed by anthocyanins.
  • Antimicrobial activity of Anthocyanins is achieved through the cell wall and intercellular matrix destruction. [3,4]

 

Phenolic compounds

Phenolic compounds have several bioactivities, including antioxidant effect, anti-proliferative, antidiabetic, anticancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effect. The strong antioxidant property of phenolic compounds able to scavenge more stable free radicals. Phenolic acids can be classified into two sub-groups: hydroxybenzoic acid derivatives and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. gallic, vanillic, and ellagic acid are examples of hydroxybenzoic acid derivatives; whereas pcoumaric, caffeic, ferulic, chlorogenic come under hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. Most of the berries are well resources of these phenolic compounds.[2]

 

Health Benefits of Berries

Berries are fleshy, oval-shaped, thin-skinned with lack of objectionable, edible fruits. Berries are rich in glucose, fructose with low-calorie content. They contain high cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin (dietary fibers), but a small fat content.  Organic acids like citric acid, malic acid, tartaric, oxalic, and fumaric acid, and certain minerals in trace amounts are present in berries. Berries are profuse sources of anthocyanins and phenolic compounds. However different verities have distinct phytochemical status. [2]

 

Variety of Berry

Scientific name

Phytochemicals

Raspberry

Rubus idaeus

Phenolic acids, flavonoids, and lignans (antioxidants). Ellagitannins and anthocyanidins (anthocyanin). Quercetin (flavonol).

Blackberry

Rubus fruticosus

cyanidin3glucoside (anthocyanin), (−)Epicachetin

Highbush Blueberry

Vaccinium corymbosum,

Anthocyanin

Bilberry

Vaccinium myrtillus

cyanidin3glucoside,delphinidin-3-glucoside, malvidin3glucoside, petunidin3glucoside and delphinidin3galactoside.

Cranberry

Vaccinium oxycoccos

Quercetin, Ellagic acid (total phenolic compounds) and cyanidin3glucoside (anthocyanin).

American cranberry

Vaccinium macrocarpon)

The specific health benefits from phytochemical of berries are as follows:

  • Berries can down-regulate inflammatory markers, including TNFα, IL1β, IL6, IL10, iNOS, COX2, PGE , NFκB and pp65 and exert anti-inflammatory effect. Flavopiridol, ellagic acid, an anethole, and resveratrol are abundantly present in berries are, inhibits NFκB signaling pathway and exert chemoprevention.
  • The health benefits of berries include potent antioxidant property due to presence of quercetin, kaempferol and pterostilbene, which also provide chemoprevention.
  • Resveratrol and anethole present in berries suppress cancer cell growth. [5]
  • Harvesting may change the phytochemical status and researches found some efficacy difference between wild and cultivated variety of berries:
  • Higher total phenolics compounds make wild strawberry, wild raspberries, wild blueberries stronger antioxidant than cultivated verities. However, cultivated berries are more powerful antioxidant than wild varieties.
  • Anthocyanin components present in all variety of wild berries are responsible for providing antimicrobial activities against influenza virus.
  • Different berries follow different mechanism to provide anti-inflammatory effect; the strong anti-inflammatory effect of wild blackberry is due to decrease release of NO, inhibits COX-2 and iNOS activities due to anthocyanin, proanthocyanidin polyphenolic contents; whereas Ziziphus mistol ripe berries reduces lipoxygenase activities and provide the potent anti-inflammatory effect. Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) inhibits NF-kB activation and decrease the production of inflammatory cytokines due to their phenolic acid component.
  • Dewberries (R. caesius) have greatest anticancer property. Anticancer activity of wild raspberry is effective against cervical cancer.  
  • Polyphenol content in wild blueberries enhance cognitive functioning.
  • Most of the wild berries can reduce advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) due to their strong antioxidant profile obtain from phenolic and anthocyanin contents. This can be related with the preventive action of berries against most of the chronic diseases including cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and Alzheimer’s disease.[1]

 

Grapes seeds and their health benefits

 

Grapes are widely used in wine industry and grape seeds are the industrial byproducts. Although, due to their nutrient profile it is widely used as food supplements. Grape seeds contain protein, fiber, minerals, and water. In addition, the lipid content of grape seeds is also considerably significant. Different phytochemicals present in grape seeds are catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, protocatechic acid, procyanidin B1, procyanidin B2, procyanidin B3, and procyanidin B4. Proanthocyanidins are the major compound in grape seed extracts. Following are the health benefits of grape seeds:

  • Proanthocyanidins present in grape seeds provide an anti-diabetic effect by an  improving insulin resistance and activating insulin receptor.  
  • β-carotene, linoleate, procyanidin in grape seeds provide antioxidant property .
  • Proanthocyanidin and chromium polynicotinate in grape seeds reduce total cholesterol, and LDL level.
  • Resveratrol and other phytochemicals in grape seeds provide antiplatelet action and prevent thrombosis.
  • Procyanidins from grape seeds decreases TNFα, C-reactive protein and IL6 and  thus, effective to treat inflammatory condition.
  • Grapeseed, rich in procyanidin has anti-obesity effect.
  • Anti-oxidant property of grape seeds provides anti-aging effect and maintain central nervous system functioning.
  • Both, Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial growth is suppressed by grapeseed.
  • Antitumor effect of grapeseed able to prevent colorectal carcinoma, head, and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and prostate cancer cells [6].

References

  • Ya Li, Jiao-Jiao Zhang, Dong-Ping Xu, Tong Zhou, Yue Zhou, Sha Li, Hua-Bin Li. Bioactivities and Health Benefits ofWild Fruits. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1258; doi:10.3390/ijms17081258.
  • GádorIndra Hidalgo, María Pilar Almajano. Red Fruits: Extraction of Antioxidants, Phenolic Content, and Radical Scavenging Determination: A Review. Antioxidants (Basel). 2017 Mar; 6(1): 7. Published online 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.3390/antiox6010007.
  • A. N. Panche, A. D. Diwan, S. R. Chandra. Flavonoids: an overview. Journal of Nutritional Science (2016), vol. 5, e47, page 1 of 15 doi:10.1017/jns.2016.41
  • Hock Eng Khoo, Azrina Azlan, Sou Teng Tang, See Meng Lim. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. FOOD & NUTRITION RESEARCH, 2017. VOL. 61, 1361779. https://doi.org/10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779
  • Aleksandra S. Kristo, Dorothy KlimisZacas, Angelos K. Sikalidis. Protective Role of Dietary Berries in Cancer. Antioxidants (Basel). 2016 Dec; 5(4): 37. Published online 2016 Oct 19. doi: 10.3390/antiox5040037
  • Zheng Feei Ma, Hongxia Zhang. Phytochemical Constituents, Health Benefits, and Industrial Applications of Grape Seeds: A MiniReview. Antioxidants (Basel). 2017 Sep; 6(3): 71. Published online 2017 Sep 15. doi: 10.3390/antiox6030071