Health benefits of the Haskap
There are a number of health benefits to eating fruit, and the Haskap berry has significant nutritional properties that make it stand out in comparison to other popular berries.
We felt that more investigation was needed on the potential health benefits of the Haskap Berry, so we have compiled the information below and are undertaking our own research into the health properties and maintaining the bioactive compounds in our value-added products.
The information on this page is taken from a number of scientific studies and are analyses of the fruit, not of any value-added or processed products. It is also important to state that nutritional properties vary with cultivar, ripeness, growing location and soil.
General Nutritional Info
As you can see from the table below, the Haskap rates very highly against other fruits and berries.
http://database.food.sugiyama-u.ac.jp/ (search ‘blue-berried Honeysuckle’)
The website www.slism.com also carried out their own studies on the nutritional content of the Haskap.
The nutritional information shown below on Canadian grown Haskap berries confirms these findings
Papers on general nutritional properties of the Haskap berry:
The Haskap berry provides exceptionally high levels of antioxidants – up to three times that of a high bush blueberry.
As the name implies, antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of the physiological process of oxidation in animal tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of such chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts.
Haskaps are a great source of polyphenols, antioxidants and other flavonoids such as: Rutin, Ferulic acid, Epicatechin, Genistic acid, Protocatechuic acid, Caffeic Acid, Ellagitannins, Quercetin and many others which can potentially help fight cancer and other diseases.
Although there are many methods to measure the antioxidant content, the traditional manner is using the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) method (although this is now being phased out and the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma) method is being favoured) .
We have now received the results from our own independent tests to see how our cultivars fared against other fruits and berries. Working closely with Vasantha Rupasinghe from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro we confirmed what we already knew! We compared 3 varieties of Haskap Berry (Borealis, Indigo Gem and Tundra) to partridgeberry, blackberry, wild blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and red table grape.
Not content with the standard ORAC test, Dr Rupasinghe carried out a number of different analyses to corroborate his findings, all of whose results confirmed the Haskap varieties to have the highest antioxidant values of all the berries tested.
In his own words “The results indicated that haskap berries possessed the highest antioxidant capacities and total phenolic contents, specifically total flavonoid among the tested fruits and could be used as a promising fruit source of natural dietary antioxidants”
Dr. Rupasinghe’s additional tests included a FRAP assay, total flavonoid content and total phenolic content. The results can be viewed below
Papers on antioxidant properties of the Haskap berry:
- Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Haskap Cultivars is Polyphenols-Dependent (Published May 2015)
- February 2012 report on Haskap antioxidant levels & phenolic content in comparison with other berries (Published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science Nov 2012)
- Chemical composition and biological activity of the fruits from Lonicera caerulea
- Phenolic Profile of Edible Honeysuckle Berries (Genus Lonicera) and Their Biological Effects, 2012
- Survey of Bioactive components in Western canadian berries, 2007
- Effects of oral administration of Lonicera caerulea berries on UVB-induced damage in SKH-1 mice, 2013
- Yield and Chemical Composition of Blue Honeysuckle Fruit Depending on Ripening Time
- Berry Fruits as a source of biologically active compounds: the case of Lonicera caerulea
Vitamin C is actually also an antioxidant that potentially helps to neutralize free radicals responsible for many chronic diseases. It is also responsible for the production of a protein called collagen – which is how others can claim it can slow down the signs of aging. It can speed up recovery of healing wounds and injuries and promote less visible scars. Vitamin C, thanks to its role in collagen production also plays a vital role in protecting your heart health. Immune health is another big reason we take Vitamin C, but save yourself the glass of orange juice, the Haskap Berry has a vitamin C content higher than that of an orange, contents range from 50mg-100mg/100g of the berries, outranking Blueberries.
Potassium is a mineral that is needed for your body to work properly. Potassium is a very significant body mineral, important to both cellular and electrical function. It is one of the main blood minerals called “electrolytes” (the others are sodium and chloride), which means it carries a tiny electrical charge.
Your body needs potassium to:
- Build proteins
- Break down and use carbohydrates
- Build muscle
- Maintain normal body growth
- Control the electrical activity of the heart
- Control the acid-base balance
Potassium works with sodium to balance the fluids and electrolyte levels in your body. And since steady fluid levels help to regulate your heartbeat and prevent muscles from cramping, potassium is of particular importance to runners.
If you have high blood pressure, heart failure, or heart rhythm problems, getting enough potassium is especially important.
A diet high in potassium is recommended as the first choice treatment for hypertension. This is only true during the early stages before medication is necessary. In later stages potassium in the diet may be used under the close supervision of a knowledgeable, nutritionally oriented physician. More information about potassium and hypertension can be found in The High Blood Pressure Solution by Richard D. Moore, M.D., Ph.D. and for general potassium information Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Potassium by Betty Kamen, Ph.D.
Although potassium’s main job is maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance within the body, it may also protect against heart disease. In the definitive 1997 study called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, volunteers who took in 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day through a well-rounded diet that was loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, plus some fish, poultry, nuts, and beans, lowered their blood pressure in just two weeks.
As you can see from the table, the Haskap comes a very close second to the leading high-potassium fruit – the Banana!
Nutritional info from: http://database.food.sugiyama-u.ac.jp/