Natural berryfruit ingredients may help asthma

19 February 2014

Research suggests that natural chemicals from some blackcurrant varieties may reduce inflammation and help breathing in some types of asthma.

Researchers at Plant & Food Research analysed a range of different New Zealand blackcurrant varieties and found that, in in vitro studies, many reduced a key inflammatory step associated with allergy-induced asthma. Analysis of the composition of these fruits suggests that the ratio of two specific compounds, known as anthocyanins, is an important factor in this inflammation control.

The findings are published in the journal Food & Function.

“The consumption of some fruit types have been shown to reduce symptoms in allergy-induced asthma but this research has provided more insights into the likely bioactive compounds in fruit that are responsible,” says Science Group Leader Dr Roger Hurst. “The new research shows certain anthocyanins present in blackcurrant are important in controlling inflammation in the lung, but more importantly it is the ratio of these anthocyanins rather than presence or absence of them that makes blackcurrants a healthy fruit.

“In the future we may be able to develop foods based on the correct balance of these compounds that can be consumed as safer, natural alternatives to assist conventional drug treatments for asthma and other allergic conditions.”

Plant & Food Research is a member of FoodHQ, New Zealand’s international centre for collaborative food research.

Contact:
Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
EMail: media@plantandfood.co.nz
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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