Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The secret to a healthy life? Try tomato seeds

Maybe there's something in it. I would like to see the double-blind trials, though. What control groups were used? How strong was the effect? The validation studies were supposedly published in the ACJN but a search on "fruitflow" there gives nil results. Possibly due to a more technical name, of course

A natural ingredient found in tomato seeds has been identified by British scientists as a key component to a long and healthy life. The gel prevents the blood from becoming sticky and clotting and so is being promoted as a natural alternative to aspirin. It was discovered by food researchers investigating the [non-existent] benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

Patented as Fruitflow, it is already being used in one fruit juice product and is now expected to be added to dairy drinks, spreads and other foods. EU health watchdogs have accepted that the ingredient does improve blood flow and have approved the use of such claims on packaging.

Fruitflow was discovered in 1999 by Professor Asim Dutta-Roy at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen. It is derived from the gel around tomato seeds. Clinical trials have shown it can help maintain a healthy blood circulation by preventing the clumping of blood platelets which can lead to clots.

Both Fruitflow and aspirin work by changing the characteristics of platelets, which are tiny cells in the blood. Normally they are smooth, but inflammation in the blood vessels - linked to smoking, high cholesterol and stress - causes them to become spiky and so stick together, forming clots. Aspirin strongly blocks one set of signals that causes this to happen. Fruitflow more gently damps down three others, enough to reduce the risk of clotting.

Currently, millions of older people take small doses of aspirin daily to improve blood flow. However this can have unwelcome side effects such as bleeding in the stomach and the creation of ulcers. Professor-Dutta-Roy said: 'To date, no side effects have been demonstrated during the development of Fruitflow.'

Research shows that a smoother blood flow can be seen within three hours of taking Fruitflow and the results can last up to 18 hours, making it ideal for daily consumption. The gel, which is colourless and tasteless, is extracted from tomato seeds and can then be added to a range of foods without changing their characteristics. It is currently added to Sirco, a range of 100 per cent pure fruit juices available from Waitrose, Ocado and some health food shops.


'World first' junk food tax flagged

Legal enforcement for a hatred of food that people enjoy. There is no such thing as junk food. What makes you fat is the total amount that you eat. You can get slim on McDonald's food. Some have. And you can get fat on milk. Is milk a junk food? What makes a food junk? Fat? Are roast dinners junk food, then? What about butter, margarine and cheese? They are full of fat. Are they junk too?

TAIWAN is planning the world's first tax on junk food in a bid to encourage the public to eat healthily and cut obesity rates. The Bureau of Health Promotion is drafting a Bill to levy the special tax on food deemed unhealthy, such as sugary drinks, candy, cakes, fast food and alcohol, said the Apple Daily.

Revenue from the tax would finance groups promoting health awareness or subsidise the island's cash-strapped national health insurance programme, the report said.

The Bill is expected to be submitted to the Parliament for approval next year and could take effect around 2011, it said, citing the bureau's director Chiou Shu-ti.

Taiwan would be the first government in the world to impose junk food tax if the Bill is passed, according to local health advocacy group John Tung Foundation. "Overweight problems are getting worse in Taiwan with 25 to 30 per cent of children obese, and it will cause more strain on our national health system," Beryl Sheu, chief of the foundation's food nutrition division, said. "Hopefully the tax will dissuade people from eating junk food and snacks and prompt food companies to make healthier products."


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