Adding gold kiwifruit to your diet may lead to less suffering from symptoms of common illnesses such as colds, research suggests.
A study led by Plant & Food Research has shown that eating gold kiwifruit is beneficial in reducing some cold symptoms in healthy, older people (65 years+). The research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, shows that eating gold kiwifruit daily significantly reduced the duration and severity of some cold symptoms, including sore throats and head congestion.
“This study shows that the micronutrients provided by regular eating of gold kiwifruit appear to be important in reducing symptoms of colds and other upper respiratory infections,” says Dr Denise Hunter, one of the researchers involved with the study. “While we do not know what compounds produce these results, these findings suggest that eating gold kiwifruit on a regular basis throughout the winter period may reduce the severity of some cold symptoms.”
“This study shows that eating certain fruits can have measurable effects on the health and wellness of an individual,” says Dr Kieran Elborough, General Manager Science, Food Innovation. “This research demonstrates that gold kiwifruit are a functional whole food, providing a level of protection against the symptoms of cold and flu. This supports our ongoing research into functional foods from fruits and vegetables that enhance the wellness of individuals, either as whole foods or as functional ingredients.”
The 20 week study was conducted over the winter and spring period, and tracked the health of 37 healthy older people. The participants were asked to eat ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit daily for four weeks then switch to banana (or vice versa) with a four week kiwifruit/banana free period prior to each treatment period. Blood samples were tested for levels of plasma antioxidants and changes to immune function at the beginning, end and every four weeks throughout the study.
The results showed a reduction in self-reported cold symptoms with gold kiwifruit compared to banana, with sore throat symptoms reducing from 5.4 to 2.0 days and head congestion from 4.7 to 0.9 days. Head congestion symptoms were also reported to be less severe during the gold kiwifruit period. Consumption of gold kiwifruit also led to higher concentrations of plasma vitamin C and antioxidants, as well as maintaining normal levels of plasma immune and inflammatory factors.
The research was funded by ZESPRI® International Limited, and was conducted in association with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University. ‘Hort16A’, marketed as ZESPRI® Gold Kiwifruit, was developed by Plant & Food Research, and the Institute receives a royalty based on sales.
A presentation of the research, recorded at the Functional Foods Symposium 2011, can be found at www.youtube.com/plantandfood.
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