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How fruit, veg and blueberries boost health

Tuesday January 18th, 2011

People with severe colds may benefit by taking concentrated fruit and vegetable juice, researchers reported yesterday.

Supplements made from fruit and vegetable juice cut the severity of symptoms by about a fifth, German researchers found.

Some 500 people took part in an eight month trial of a concentrate at the Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics in Berlin.

Researchers used the "gold standard" medical technique of a randomised, double-blind study - which means that half the users unknowingly had dummy pills.

The findings have been published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Institute director Professor Stefan Willich said: "The results of the study are certainly encouraging because they show that certain dietary supplements may mitigate the burdens and consequences of the common cold."

* A second piece of research suggests blueberries can help protect against blood pressure problems.

Researchers in East Anglia, UK, sifted through the details of more than 200,000 US health professionals to identify those who ate the most blueberries - and a similar berry, the strawberry.

They found that blueberry eaters were ten per cent less likely than anyone else to develop high blood pressure. The findings are to be reported in the American Journal of Nutrition.

The research was aimed at establishing the impact of different foods that contain flavonoid chemicals. These also include red wine, apples and orange juice.

Blueberries and strawberries contain substances called anthocyanins.

Researcher Professor Aedin Cassidy, of the University of East Anglia Medical School, Norwich, UK, said: "Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension.

"Anthocyanins are readily incorporated into the diet as they are present in many commonly consumed foods. Blueberries were the richest source in this particular study as they are frequently consumed in the US.

"Other rich sources of anthocyanins in the UK include blackcurrants, blood oranges, aubergines and raspberries."

Reduction of common cold symptoms by encapsulated juice powder concentrate of fruits and vegetables: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Stephanie Roll et al: Br J Nutr. 2010 Aug 23: 1-5. DOI: 10.1017/S000711451000317X

Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. A Cassidy (UEA), E O’Reilly (Harvard), Colin Kay (UEA), L Sampson (Harvard), M Franz (Harvard), J Forman (Harvard), G Curhan (Harvard), and E Rimm (Harvard) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2011

Tags: Diet & Food | Europe | Flu & Viruses | Heart Health | UK News

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