Scientists say eating like a bird could be key to healthy living

(NBC) - A lot of exciting research is going on at the University of Rhode Island.

Dr. Navindra Seeram and her team are scrutinizing plants for their health benefits. Another researcher on campus, Scott McWilliams is interested in migratory birds' eating habits, a diet rich in berries.

Now the two are talking.

"It was not hard to figure out that my research with berries in humans and the birds' preferences for berries was a perfect match," Dr. Seeram explains.

The team's preliminary findings show that birds stopping over on Block Island favor one berry in particular.

"In terms of what we found in our research, the berry that the birds ate, which was this vibernum berry, the arrowwood berry had the most pigments -- the most darkly colored antioxidants," Dr. Seeram said.

So why compare birds to humans?

"If you think of birds, they're just like humans, they can see color, they're trichromatic so they can actually visualize darkly colored fruit and I think if birds are gonna fly south, with all this immense stress and oxidation stress and inflammation that they're going through of course I think they're lean," Dr. Seeram explained.

Dr. Seeram believes the berries are a contributing factor and believes there very well may be a link between bird health and diet and people health and diet.

"The big tag line here is if you wanna eat healthy, follow what the birds did, because birds have evolved with plants, best plants, best birds, best berries and best birds so therefore look at what the birds are eating and eat it," he said.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.