Better Food For Better Health

Many foods like fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamins and other nutrients that are essential for good health.

Modern plant breeding is helping make good foods even better by giving them cancer-fighting properties, or the ability to combat growing public health problems like obesity and diabetes.

It’s widely accepted that dark blue and purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and purple cabbage, are great sources of the anthocyanins, the antioxidants we need to stay healthy. These antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals — high energy particles in the human body that can damage cells — meaning that they can help fight inflammation, diabetes and cancer, as well as help with eye cell repair.

A purple tomato, for example, has been developed in the UK to have higher levels of anthocyanins. Although not commercially available yet, this innovation could boost the nutritional value of meals from pasta and pizza to bruschetta and salsa.

University of Florida researchers are developing “blood” limes with purple pulp high in anthocyanins. They’re also developing a blood orange – they normally grow well in Spain and Italy – that can thrive in Florida’s subtropical citrus belt.

Iron deficiency is the most widespread form of malnutrition, says the World Health Organization, and a lack of zinc causes stunted growth. A global research team has developed rice with high levels of iron and zinc that could help global hunger and malnutrition.


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