Feijoa, blackberry reduce inflammation

Most fruits are good for you.

Researchers at the University of Auckland have found strong anti-inflammatory effects in feijoa and blackberry that could help people with inflammatory diseases.

The researchers tested 12 fruits – mango, feijoa, elderberry, cranberry, blackcurrant, blackberry, red raspberry, strawberry, green grapes, plum, pear and black grapes – for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

“Most fruits are good for you and have some anti-oxidant effect but feijoa and blackberry showed the strongest anti-inflammatory response in the experiments,” says Professor Lynn Ferguson.

The study identifies fruit compounds with an anti-inflammatory effect through certain chemical pathways that could be tested further to develop them as complementary therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory disorders.

“Inflammatory responses are important for coping with damage, but an over-active inflammatory response is also damaging and can create problems, Professor Ferguson says.

“These responses can be debilitating for New Zealanders with an inflammatory disease, and these fruits can help to limit the inflammatory response.”

Feijoa and blackberry show the highest and strongest anti-inflammatory effects in the various test screens carried out for this research.  The study also shows that the anti-oxidant action of the feijoa compounds is not a direct effect, but is mediated through inhibitory effects on the enzyme, kinase.

“Our studies support other results that suggest these fruit extracts could help to regulate oxidative stress and inflammation in cells, both directly and indirectly,” Professor Ferguson says.

“Feijoa is already known to be very high in polyphenols such as flavonoids and these may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects.”