Almond processor Blue Diamond and bioactives company Brightseed have joined forces to investigate potential health benefits of California almonds. The findings will inform Blue Diamond’s health innovations and programs, including consumer education initiatives.
The partnership utilizes Brightseed’s artificial intelligence platform, Forager, to profile Blue Diamond’s almonds (Prunus amygdalus).
“Almonds are already well-studied, but this collaboration gives us a deeper understanding and new ways to view future exploration of nutritional benefits and clinical studies,” stated Kurt Waananen, Blue Diamond’s Senior Director of R&D.
Indeed, the nutrient-dense seeds have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including heart health, blood glucose management, satiety/weight management and gut health.
Despite the vast research on almonds, new findings suggest there is still a lot to uncover. Forager has found 188 additional predicted bioactive compounds with potential to impact several areas of human health, including mental wellness, metabolic health and immunity.
“These are exciting revelations that tell us there is a wealth of potential new health benefits within California almonds that deserves deeper investigation for consumer health awareness. More work needs to be done clinically to validate these predictions. An expanded understanding of bioactives in Blue Diamond’s almond supply opens up new insights for the company to investigate and innovate for consumer health,” said Mary Beth Miranda, Business Development at Brightseed.
“Science has long known that bioactives are essential health-driving components within plants, but pinpointing their underlying mechanisms of action has been a largely intractable problem for the food, health, and nutrition industries,” Brightseed Co-Founder and COO Sofia Elizondo said. “Our work with Blue Diamond enables Forager to tap into a global food staple and illuminate the almond health story for consumers worldwide. This is an important leap for the industry to champion food and functional ingredients as powerful and accessible modalities for precision nutrition for proactive health.”
Miranda said that at this stage, they are working with high-value bioactive predictions and additional clinical research is required to substantiate a health or structure function claim.
“One of Forager’s unique abilities is to decode existing clinical research more deeply by linking specific bioactives to known, clinically-validated health benefits. Forager does this by pinpointing the mechanism of action each bioactive may trigger to impart a precise health benefit. Forager’s illumination of existing bioactives paired with discovery of new compounds is rapidly evolving our understanding of plant-based health. This is becoming more important to today’s ‘bioactivist’ consumer which represents 27% of US adults, who are eager to understand exactly how plants work to maintain their health, wellness, and longevity,” Miranda said.
Just getting started
Brightseed plans to clinically validate Forager’s predictions in order to contribute to the scientific understanding of individual bioactive compounds and the breadth of their health impact. With this in mind, the companies will be assessing options for further research to expand on the scientific understanding of how almonds contribute to human health, including to new areas previously unattributed to almond consumption.
In April, Brightseed teamed up with ingredient giant ADM to decipher the molecular interactions between dietary plants and gut microbes, and their potential impact on human health. Brightseed has also partnered with the likes of Ocean Spray, Danone, Kallyope and Olam.