Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Are Green Tea and Berries the Answer to a Ripe Old Age?


Anthocyanins in blue and purple fruits can alter carbohydrate digestion, leading to a lower overall glycaemic response. This is important for people trying to control their blood glucose levels. Current research is looking at the ability of anthocyanins in berries to protect against cognitive decline and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

By Lisa Ryan

Polyphenols found in plant-based foods may be all we need to live longer.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Like many western countries, Australia has an ageing population. While we all want to age gracefully, it is more important to ensure we live a healthier life. This would allow us to remain independent and improve our overall quality of life.

Evidence is growing that a diet rich in plant-based foods reduces the risk of developing a number of chronic age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts and age-related functional decline.

Diets that include a variety of fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fibre and an array of plant-derived compounds known as phytochemicals. Increasingly phytochemicals are being considered as key components responsible for much of the disease protection conferred by fruits and vegetables.

Phytochemicals are bioactive non-nutrient, non-essential plant chemicals that may provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. More than 8000 individual phytochemicals have been identified to date, with many others yet to be discovered, making research in this area extremely complex.

Polyphenols are the most diverse group of the phytochemicals, and have been under the most intense investigation over the past decade. Plants produce polyphenols as secondary metabolites involved in a range of different processes, such as resistance against pathogens and...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.