Feijoas, blackberries stand out in fighting inflammation: New Zealand study

Feijoas and blackberries outshine 10 other fruits with their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, according to New Zealand’s University of Auckland researchers.

Other 10 fruits in the basket studied include mangoes, elderberries, cranberries, blackcurrants, red raspberries, strawberries, green and black grapes, plums and pears.

feijoaIt identified fruit compounds with an anti-inflammatory effect through certain chemical pathways that could be tested further to develop them as complementary therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory disorders.

“Most fruits are good for you and have some anti-oxidant effect, but feijoa and blackberry showed the strongest anti-inflammatory response in the experiments,” says University of Auckland, Nutrition and Dietetics researcher, Professor Lynn Ferguson.

“Inflammatory responses are important for coping with damage, but an over-active inflammatory response is also damaging and can create problems,” said Ferguson.

The two fruits could help to limit inflammatory response. The study also showed that the anti-oxidant action of the feijoa compounds was not a direct effect, but was mediated through inhibitory effects on the enzyme, kinase. Feijoa is known to be very high in polyphenols such as flavonoids, which are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects.

“Research to identify the active compounds will be the subject of further studies,” she says.

For the experiments reported in the study, the testing included the skin and pulp of all the fruits. “In feijoa, the skin has more bio-activity than the pulp,” said Ferguson.”Some Asian cultures eat the skin, but in most Western cultures many people find the taste too sour.”

The research was a collaboration across New Zealand with Nutrigenomics New Zealand providing the fruit fractions for testing, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust supporting the work.


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