The Flemish research centre for fruit cultivation, Proefcentrum Fruitteelt vzw (pcfruit), has researched the effect of fruit on different brain diseases. This research was done in collaboration with various universities over the past four years.
“These scientific insights should encourage people to eat more fruit. This, in turn, offers long-term prospects for fruit growers", says Inge Moors, pcfruit's chairperson. She is also the Flemish Provincial Minister of Agriculture.
“We looked at the extent to which the fruits' various components affect one's health. These are components such as antioxidants. This was done in partnership with the University of Hasselt. We did a literature study. We focused on the effect of Belgian fruit on brain diseases like MS, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's ”, adds Marijke Jozefczak from pcfruit.
“In Belgium, more than 200.000 people have some form of brain disease. Globally, every four seconds, a new diagnosis is made. Brain diseases are becoming a major problem in the Western world."
Researchers looked at, in particular, flavonoid pigments. These substances are responsible for fruit, vegetables, and herbs' bright colors. These colors can vary from yellow to purple.
The number of flavonoids per piece of fruit also vary considerably. "The study showed that this substance might be able to delay diseases such as Parkison's, but also MS", explains Marijke.
“The literature study is currently being completed. We are in the process of continuing the research. We have achieved something good, so we want to take it further", continues Jozefczak.
“The big issue with health claims is that if you want to make a genuine claim, you have to do the research. You must be able to prove your claim, without a doubt, through using human subjects. Large clinical studies are very expensive. The biggest problem is that, as a business, you cannot patent plant-based substances such as fruit and vegetables."