CORVALLIS -Ronald Wrolstad will tell anyone who'll listen that blackberries, blueberries, raspberries - just about any berries - are tiny, tasty fountains of youth.

Wrolstad, a food science professor at Oregon State University, has been researching the healthful properties of berries for the past six years of his 30-year career in food science. He is an expert on the ways that berries fight "free radicals," the compounds that age and degrade cells in the body, affecting everything from flesh firmness to memory.

Berries are naturally rich in the "anti-oxidants" that fight the rusting, browning, decaying - in short, aging - effects that happen when oxygen combines with these free radicals.

Now a feature in the June 17 edition of Newsweek magazine is taking Wrolstrad's message to a national audience. In its weekly news feature "The Tipsheet," Wrolstad is quoted as verifying that research supports the theory that berries 'may help prevent everything from cancer to heart disease.'

"In the past we would've said the main reason to eat berries was vitamin C," Wrolstad said. "Then we learned about potassium, fiber and folate. Today we're learning that berries are also rich in anti-oxidants."

Wrolstad, who is on a year-long sabbatical in New Zealand until January, said it is always good when a wide audience learns exactly how science backs up what grandma said when she told you that fruits and vegetables were good for you.

Graduate students and research assistants at OSU are continuing Wrolstad's research in his absence into the health benefits of apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries.

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Ronald Wrolstrad, 541-737-3591