Fruit extracts could calm you down

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

New Zealand based HortResearch is examining the potential fruit may
have on mental performance and hopes that a fruit based product
will be able to offer consumers a calming effect.

Researchers have been looking intothe role of fruit in mental state performance for the past three years, and are turning their attention to fruit as a natural calmer for people who lead busy lives. To date, they have been examining the effect of different types of fruit at binding to the gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA receptors are the same sites where tranquilizers such as Valium work. It is this theory which potentially opens the door to a fruit based consumer product that could be calming, researchers said. Although the group cannot say when theresearch will prove fruitful in producing a mental performance product aimed at calming people, they are confident this will be a big sector over the next few years. Business leader for health food at HortResearch, Karl Crawford, told "There is already St John's Wort and other plants which have an effect on mental state. "I cannot say that if you take fruit x then you will be calmer. In actual fact, it probably won't work that way. What we are likely to see is different compounds of fruit working synergistically. "We look for a desired synergy - that is a more realistic way of how foods work in your diet." Stacking up ​There has been lots of global research into the role of fruit and mental performance. A French study last summer linked a diet rich in flavonoids - compounds found in fruit - to reducing the decline in mental function associated with age. Flavonoids have been receiving interest with a mounting body of science, including epidemiological and laboratory-based. Evidence of their cancer-fighting potential of a number of different flavonoids, such as isoflavones, anthocyanidins and flavonols, has also been gathering. According to Business Insights, the market potential for flavonoids in the dietetic and nutritional supplement market is in excess of €670m ($862m) for 2007, with annual increases of 12 per cent.

Related topics Polyphenols Cognitive function

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