The power of fruit and vegies

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Can increasing your fruit and vegetable intake improve your skin colour and appearance? A University of Newcastle study is searching for the answer with the hope it could be a powerful motivator to encourage people to eat healthier.

Fruit and VegiesPhD candidate with the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, Ms Kristine Pezdirc* said current evidence shows that eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of many chronic diseases including stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some specific cancers.

"Fruit and vegetables get their bright colours from phytonutrients called carotenoids. After digestion these carotenoids appear in your skin and can give you a healthier "glow", which potentially can be used as a novel motivator to eat more fruit and vegetables." 

This is the first study to test whether varying the amount of carotenoids from fruit and vegetables can improve your skin colour and appearance, and your well-being." 

"Despite the strong evidence of the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables most Australians still don't eat enough to experience the full health benefits nor do they meet the recommended targets. Adults, including young women, have low intakes with just three per cent consuming the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables. They are missing out on the health benefits and potentially setting themselves up for poor health in the future.

"My study is providing young women with fruit and vegetables on a weekly basis to consume over a 10 week period.  We are measuring their carotenoid intake by assessing the levels in their skin using a non-invasive hand held spectrophotometer. We are also assessing the amount of circulating carotenoids in their blood. We plan to use this information to develop program that help them eat better and feel better.

During 2013 National Nutrition Week (13-19 October) and World Food Day (16 October) the University of Newcastle is showcasing its global leaders in nutrition and dietetics research. The 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), an independent assessment of research excellence, awarded nutrition and dietetics research at the University of Newcastle, a rating of 5 -  'well above world standard' - one of only three Australian universities to receive the top ERA rating.

Meet more of our global leaders who are driving world class innovation.

* Ms Pezdirc researches under the supervision of Professor Clare Collins and Dr Melinda Hutchesson at the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition.

Newcastle-based health researchers work in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) - a partnership with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.