Berries are rich in polyphenols such as anthocyanins. Various favorable functions of berries cannot be explained by their anti-oxidant properties, and thus, berries are now receiving great interest as food ingredients with “beyond antioxidant” functions. In this review, we discuss the potential health benefits of anthocyanin-rich berries, with a focus on prevention and treatment of obesity and diabetes. To better understand the physiological functionality of berries, the exact molecular mechanism of their anti-obesity and anti-diabetes effect should be clarified. Additionally, the relationship of metabolites and degradation products with health benefits derived from anthocyanins needs to be elucidated. The preventive effects of berries and anthocyanin-containing foods on the metabolic syndrome are not always supported by findings of interventional studies in humans, and thus further studies are necessary. Use of standardized diets and conditions by all research groups may address this problem. Berries are tasty foods that are easy to consume, and thus, investigating their health benefits is critical for health promotion and disease prevention.
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