For those of you that find it difficult to get your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, scientists have now developed a freeze dry technique that retains all the natural goodness and health benefits. This means that fruit and vegetables can be freeze dried and turned into a powder that can be conveniently added to other foods or even added to water to make a fruit juice.
The Government has heavily promoted their 5 a day campaign over the years alongside the health benefits of getting five 80g portions of fruit and veg each day. Those involved in the freeze drying development feel that it will allow more people to get their five a day on a regular basis, due to the convenience that the powder would allow.
The five a day campaign is based on recommendations from the World Health Organisation, which recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day in aid of lowering serious health concerns such as type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease and of course to prevent obesity. It has been revealed through a survey by the World Cancer Research Fund that less than a quarter of people in Britain are managing to live by the 5 a day campaign, whilst other research suggested that one in ten children only manage a single portion each day.
It is for these reasons that the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia researchers looked into developing new products that could help promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables. The first fruits to undergo the freeze dry technique were grapefruit, kiwis and strawberries and can be sprinkled on other foods or used as ingredients in things like juices, purees or added to milk or tea. The fruits already tested were selected first, as a result of their high water content, which means that they rot faster than some other fruits.
Nuria Martinez, lead researcher discussed their success noting that grapefruit is a fruit that contains fantastic nutritional and functional value however, it isn’t regularly consumed for a number of reasons, the fact that it is very bitter being one of the major ones; strawberries are a seasonal fruit and freeze drying means they would be available all year round. She believes that fruit consumption may also be low because of the fact that fresh produce only lasts a number of days and people don’t have the time to go shopping every day for fresh fruit.
Freeze drying means that the compounds responsible for retaining the compounds that keep the beneficial effects of fruit including the vitamins and antioxidants. Around 100g of fruit produces between 10-15g of powdered fruit; half of this could be used to flavour a salad or if you add 85ml of water, it would be the same as drinking the juice of half a grapefruit. It was also further revealed that dried fruit had significant health benefits.
Gareth writes on a number of health and nutrition topics on behalf AXA PPP healthcare providers of healthcare and dental insurance plans.