Saskatoon Berries Rich in Flavonoids

November 22, 2013

A review explores the nutritional components of these blueberry look-alikes.

The little-known saskatoon berry (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.), or june berry, can only benefit from a review of its nutritional properties. And Czech and Slovakian researchers are helping out, having now compiled an extensive review of published science on this blueberry look-alike.

As it turns out, saskatoon berries contain significant amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, and magnesium. But it’s their flavonoid profile that appears most valuable. Chemical analysis of these compounds, much of which was published in the last several years, indicates particularly high amounts of compounds such as quercetin, rutin, proanthocyanidins, and anthocyanins. Each of these is popularized as an antioxidant, and anthocyanins are also known for providing the red, blue, and purple pigments of many fruits and vegetables. The anthocyanin contents of saskatoon berries are reportedly similar to levels found in more famous berries, such as blueberries and bilberries.

Like most other plants, saskatoon berries are susceptible to nutrient degradation in certain conditions. In this review, researchers acknowledged a study that found anthocyanins in saskatoon berries can degrade during cold storage. But this shouldn’t turn off manufacturers and consumers. The benefits of consuming flavonoids appear to be many, including anti-inflammatory effects, blood sugar modulation, and maybe even defense against cancers. Continuing research on flavonoids and berries will hopefully elucidate these potential applications.

The saskatoon berry review is now free for download at the journal Molecules.