U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, recently announced that researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Bedford Park have received $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to research how bioactive components in berries may prevent inflammation and promote intestinal health.
IIT was one of 20 recipients that received the grant through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the agency’s flagship competitive grants program that supports improving access to high-quality, nourishing foods that lead to better health.
The project will investigate how berry components will impact low-grade inflammation in obese and overweight individuals. Researchers also want to see how berries can control the microbial community in the colon and how that could influence biological processes in the body.
“This is very exciting work,” Lipinski said. “I joined my colleagues in asking for continued funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to ensure that we continuously improve nutrition. I look forward to seeing the outcome, but in the meantime, I might add a few extra berries to my breakfast.”
Amandeep Sandhu, an Illinois Institute of Technology assistant professor of food science and nutrition and researcher at the university’s Institute for Food Safety and Health, is the principal investigator of the USDA/NIFA funded project.
“We are taking a whole food approach to deliver bioactive components and monitoring for possible beneficial health effects, including mechanisms of their action in individuals who are at risk of developing chronic diseases,” Sandhu said. “We expect to generate novel data on berry polyphenol components, the role of the gut microbiome as a mediator of inflammation, and opportunities to enhance health benefits by inclusion of berries in the American diet.”