Humble Queensland plum holds secret to better health

PLUM JOB: Rowan Berecry harvests a crop of Queen Garnet plums, which were found to lower blood pressure in recent trials.
PLUM JOB: Rowan Berecry harvests a crop of Queen Garnet plums, which were found to lower blood pressure in recent trials. Contributed

THE Queen Garnet plum, which was developed by Queensland Government scientists to be high in anthocyanins, is cementing its place as a super food, with the first human trials demon- strating its ability to lower blood pressure in adults.

Anthocyanins are a class of polyphenols found in the red, blue and purple pigmentation of fruits and in some vegetables.

Evidence is emerging that a diet high in foods that contain these natural chemicals is associated with protection against myriad health issues including inflammation and obesity, as well as improving glucose metabolism and offering powerful antioxidant properties.

New research by the University of Wollongong showed that consumption of a single serving of 300ml of the plum juice resulted in a significantly lowered blood pressure over 24 hours and that this effect was more marked in older adults.

The researchers attribute this effect to the fruit's anthocyanins content as it has about two times the levels found in regular plums.

Nutrafruit, which holds the global licence to commercialise the Queen Garnet, said research into the effects of anthocyanins contributed to a greater understanding of the role of plant foods in combating lifestyle diseases.

"The Queen Garnet has a significantly higher level of anthocyanins than any other plum variety and has extremely high anthocyanin content compared to most other fruits,” Nutrafruit chief executive Luke Couch said.

"This research tested the unprocessed Queen Garnet plum and the effects the anthocyanin had on cardiovascular activities in humans. The results have been impressive and will now form the basis for larger human trials.”

In addition to a balanced diet, the anthocyanin in the Queen Garnet plum nectar could prove a simple way forAustralians to help reduce their risk of heart disease.

"Elevated and high blood pressure is a major health concern, with one in four Australians having unmanaged blood pressure issues,” Mr Couch said.

"This research contributes to our understanding of the dietary ways in which people can reduce high blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart disease.”

Previous research in obese rats showed the Queen Garnet plum juice assisted in reducing high blood pressure and improving fatty livers, poor heart function and arthritis in eight weeks.

Topics:  blood pressure horticulture superfoods

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