Yumberry (Myrica rubra), which was once known as the yang mei fruit is an exotic berry that has been enjoyed by the people of China for several thousands of years. It is also known by several other names such as yamamomo, Japanese Bayberry, Chinese Bayberry, China Strawberry, Red Bayberry, Chinese strawberry, Yum yum berry or Waxberry. Although it is similar in appearance to a raspberry with a dark purple red or crimson color, its taste somewhat resembles that of pomegranate or cranberry. The flesh has a lighter color and tastes sweet with a great deal of tartness. Just like many other berries, yumberry also offers exceptional health benefits, owing to the high concentration of antioxidants and other essential nutrients in them. Bottled Yumberry juice is popular in China and Europe.
Nutritional content of yumberry
Yumberry is a storehouse of a wide range of nutrients. According to studies, this fruit contains several important vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate. A 100g serving of yumberry can provide you with almost 12% of your recommended daily allowance of biotin, 13% of folacin and 25% of vitamin C. Moreover it is rich in the mineral selenium and flavonols such as quercetin, myricetin and ellagic acid, all of which show powerful antioxidant activity. This berry is the highest known source of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), which are antioxidants that protect your heart and other organs.
Health benefits of Yumberry
Yumberry is a vital part of traditional Chinese medicine and has been used for several years in Chinese folk prescriptions. It contains phytochemicals and antioxidants that play a key role in preventing many serious diseases. Here are some of the benefits of eating yumberry:
Anti-aging effects of Yumberry
The dangerous free radicals in your body can cause oxidation damage to the various cells and organs, which further contributes to aging and many serious diseases. The yumberry fruit is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins and anthocynadins, which fight off the free radicals, thus inhibiting the process of aging. Organic yumberry powder can help your skin maintain a youthful glow. The oligomeric proanthocyanidins in yumberries also strengthens and protects the skin cells, thus helping to keep your skin firm and maintain its youthful glow.
Yumberry is good for your heart
Yumberry is very low in calories and are rich in essential vitamins and antioxidants. The antioxidants in yumberry have the ability to protect the healthy cells of your heart from the oxidative damages caused by free radicals, which in turn helps in lowering your risks of cardiovascular problems. The oligomeric proanthocyanidins found in yumberries offers additional support to cardiovascular health by preventing the oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol, reducing inflammation in the arteries and buildup of plaque along the walls of the arteries, thus lowering your risk of developing atherosclerosis. Animal studies reveal that yumberry is helpful in lowering high blood pressure, another factor about this fruit that adds to cardiovascular protection.
Yumberry helps maintain a healthy weight
In spite of the sweet taste, yumberry is a low calorie food, which makes it ideal as a weight loss food. Cyanidin-3-glucoside is an anthocyanin compound found in yumberry, which contributes to about 82 percent of the antioxidant capacity of this berry. This compound has been found to have the ability to regulate the hormones that are associated with causing increased appetite and obesity. Cyanidin-3-glucoside suppresses the hormones adiponectin and leptin, thereby increasing the metabolism of fat and reducing appetite, which further leads to weight loss. Eating low calorie foods such as yumberry may therefore help lower the intake of overall calories and hence help you maintain a healthy weight.
Yumberry protects against cancer
According to a study published in the 2012 issue of Food Chemistry, the cyanidin-3-O-glucoside present in yumberry may help in the treatment or prevention of cancer. The researchers extracted cyanidin-3-O-glucoside from yumberries and then tested this compound on gastric cells. The results confirmed that the compound had anti-cancer properties. Another study published in “Nature Reviews Cancer” in the year 2002 suggested that higher doses of this compound inhibited the action of matrix metalloproteinase 2, which is an enzyme associated with certain types of cancer.
Yumberry protects the eyes
Yumberries are extremely helpful in protecting your eyes from the damage often caused by prolonged exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The high intensity ultraviolet rays as well as the free radicals in your body are capable of damaging the retina and also increasing the chances for developing cataracts and age related macular degeneration. Eating yumberry is effective in lowering these risks because the potent antioxidants found in these berries help neutralize the damage caused by the sun and free radicals.
Yumberry is a wonderful source of folate
Yumberry is a good source of one of the essential B group vitamins known as folate. Adults are required to take 400 micrograms of folate a day. A 100 calorie serving of this fruit contains about 54 micrograms of folate. This vitamin plays an important role in the formation of DNA. It is also very important for pregnant women as it helps in preventing birth defects in the fetus.
Yumberry reduces pain and inflammation
Although inflammation is referred to as the natural immune response of the body to injury, too much of it is dangerous and can lead to chronic conditions like arthritis and autoimmune diseases. The consumption of yumberry is very beneficial in this situation because the oligomeric proanthocyanidins in this fruit can help in relieving unwanted inflammation and also the pain associated with it. According to a study published in the journal “Planta Medica” in 2010, the leaves and fruit of yumberry contain a flavonoid known as myricetin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. When this flavonoid extracted from the yumberry was tested against a few acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, it was found to help in reducing inflammatory symptoms to a great extent. Because of these properties, yumberry may be used as an effective remedy for treating or preventing various types of inflammatory diseases.
Yumberries may probably be very strange fruit to many but it has been gaining popularity nowadays in many parts of the world as a concentrate and as an extract, which are used for many culinary and medicinal purposes. Because of the abundance of nutrients and antioxidants, yumberry is also referred to as super fruit. Yumberry fruit is easily perishable and due to its delicate nature, it is difficult to find the fruit at your local market. However, you can easily get it in the juice or frozen form. Yumberry frozen yogurt or Yumberry yogurt are also available in hypermarkets these days.Image Credits: Flickr - Zeping Yang