London: Scientists have been able to convert certain fruits into powder while retaining their health benefits, which can be sprinkled on food or added to milk or water to create a fruit juice.
Grapefruit, kiwi and strawberries are the first fruits the researchers have turned into ready-to-sprinkle powder on other foods or as a functional ingredient in juices, purees, milk or tea. These were selected as they have a high water content, meaning they rot quicker.
Nuria Martinez Navarrete from the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia in Spain, said: “Grapefruit is a citrus fruit with great nutritional and functional value but its consumption is very small because, among other reasons, it is very bitter. Meanwhile, strawberries are a seasonal fruit.”
The World Health Organisation has recommended a minimum of 400gm of fruit and vegetables daily to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Yet, fewer than a quarter of Britons are managing it, according to a recent survey by the World Cancer Research Fund, while other research has suggested one in 10 children manage just one portion a day. This is one of the reasons that made the Spanish researchers develop new products that could promote fruit consumption, the Daily Mail reports.
Furthermore, fruit consumption may be low because fresh fruit only lasts a few days – and many of us are too busy to shop every day. Researchers found that freeze-drying conserves the compounds that are responsible for the beneficial effects of fruit, such as the antioxidant (disease-fighting) property.
According to the researchers, per 100gm of fresh grapefruit, between 10 to 15gm of powdered grapefruit are obtained. Half of this dose could flavour a serving of salad. Or, adding 85ml of water would be equivalent to drinking the juice of half a grapefruit.