Meet The Buffaloberry
Adios acai; there’s a new berry in town. Bursting with antioxidants and a variety of important nutrients, say hello to what some are calling the next super fruit of our generation: the buffaloberry. Overlooked and underappreciated for centuries, recent research has shed a spotlight on this powerful little fruit that suggests the buffaloberry may be playing a prominent role in upcoming modern cuisine.
The Center for Health Internal Medicine in Reno loves new discoveries in the world of health no matter what they might be. But, upon hearing about the buffaloberry we found ourselves asking … what’s the big deal?
The buffaloberry, or bullberry, also known scientifically as Shepherdia, is an old species of berry most well known to exist in the diets of Native American populations. Exclusive to North America, the buffaloberry flourishes in hardy conditions throughout the continent. It’s a small, red berry that is saturated with high levels of lycopene, the antioxidant in tomatoes that gives them their red color. Aside from its colorful characteristics, according to the American Cancer Society, lycopene’s benefits include the prevention and treatment of cancers of the lung, prostate, stomach, bladder, cervix, skin, and, especially, prostate. Additionally, proponents note that lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, a compound that blocks the action of free radicals, activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells. Also, several scientific studies have found lower risk of cancer among people who eat lycopene-rich foods.
While other foods (again, like tomatoes) contain lycopene, the buffaloberry’s hardy natural growing conditions make it ideal for boosting areas in need of economic growth; the buffaloberry’s benefits may not only be related to health, but also to the economy. The crop is easy to grow, and while large-scale buffaloberry farms do not yet exist in North America, farmers have already begun to set their sights on growing this bold little berry.
The buffaloberry appears to be one of Native Americans’ best kept health secrets. With a bitter yet sweet taste, the berry is optimal for jams and jellies, as well as trail mixes and granola bars when dried. Or, you can eat it in the buff. Making its way into the public eye, the future holds great potential for the buffaloberry. Until growing efforts increase, you may be lucky to find buffaloberries in local grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
Questions or concerns? As always, feel free to contact The Center for Health Internal Medicine’s downtown Reno doctors office for any of your health questions. When it comes to your prolonged health and well-being, our Reno doctors and health professionals are always a call, email or personal visit away.