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Title - Rhiannon Kay
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Rhiannon Kay is the Health & Wellness correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rhiannon is a journalism student at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. If you have questions or wish to contact Rhiannon, you can email her at rkay@ourhometown.ca
A Miracle in a Berry
Rhiannon Kay
OurHometown.ca

A Miracle in a Berry
Normally people wouldn’t eat lemon and lime slices or Tabasco sauce unless they could handle the intense flavour. But one small berry has the power to transform your taste buds making sour foods sweet. Tangy lemon juice tastes like the sweetest lemonade and Tabasco sauce loses the extreme heat.

Mississauga - January 16, 2012 - Normally people wouldn’t eat lemon and lime slices or Tabasco sauce unless they could handle the intense flavour. But one small berry has the power to transform your taste buds making sour foods sweet. Tangy lemon juice tastes like the sweetest lemonade and Tabasco sauce loses the extreme heat.

The miracle fruit is flavourless and about the size of an almond. It is also referred to as Synsepalum dulcificum, which is a source of berry that creates a sense of sweetness. The berry is indigenous to West Africa but is now also grown and distributed from Florida.

How does it work? Well once this berry is eaten it will coat your taste buds with a protein called miraculin. When any bitter or sour foods come into contact with your tongues sweetness receptors it sends a signal to your brain that makes you think you are eating something sweet. This effect usually lasts for up to an hour.

Adam Leith Gollner is a journalist in Montreal and the author of The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession. In this book Gollner traveled to exotic places attempting to find what he calls “the forgotten histories of fruit.” Along the way he found the miracle berry.

This berry has many more benefits than just taking your tongue on a taste-trip. It helps control blood glucose levels for people with diabetes and acts as a healthy natural sweetener instead of sweeteners containing aspartame. It has also been said to help people going through chemotherapy treatment.

“For them all food tastes metallic and rubbery, but when you take a miracle berry it actually allows you to taste the foods again,” said Gollner in an interview with Democracy Now.

A study was conducted at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital in New York from Oct 2008 to Nov 2009 to see if the miracle berry helped patients in any way with taste alteration. For most people the berry worked, but not all. The study still concluded that the response to the miracle berry looks to be promising.

This berry has a long history that dates back to the 1700’s. But in 1970 an entrepreneur named Robert Harvey brought the protein found in the miracle berry, miraculin, to the market. Harvey created tablets containing miraculin and the berry was able to made into lollipops and popsicles with no sugar added.

In 1974, it was banned by the FDA and any miracle berry products were not allowed into the market. Now only the fresh berries are allowed for sale and consumption.

“Growers in Florida have figured out that they can actually ship these berries overnight to consumers, said Gollner in the Democracy Now interview. “With the rise of overnight shipping the miracle has had a kind of second coming and people are able to taste it once again.”

Canadians wanting to try this berry can order it from a few websites like https://www.miraclefruit.ca/ and http://www.miraclefruitman.com/, both sell 60 berries for 70$.

Foods to try with the Miracle Berry
Sour: Lemons, limes, grapefruit, pineapples, sour patch kids

Bitter: apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, beer (Guinness), goat cheese, pickles, dark chocolate, blue cheese

Spicy: wasabi, Tabasco sauce, horseradish




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