Plum a day keeps the doctor away
A PLUM a day could keep doctors at bay if the results of new human trials is anything to go by.
Long brandished with the super food tag, the Queen Garnet plum is now demonstrating even more beneficial properties.
Developed by Queensland Government scientists to be high in anthocyanins, the fruit's reputation continues to grow, with the first human trials demonstrating its ability to hugely reduce blood pressure in adults.
Nutrafruit, which holds the global licence to commercialise the Queen Garnet, said the results were telling. "This research contributes to our understanding of the dietary ways in which people can reduce high blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart disease," Nutrafruit chief executive Luke Couch said.
"The Queen Garnet has a significantly higher level of anthocyanins than any other plum variety and has extremely high anthocyanin content compared to most other fruits.
"This research tested the unprocessed Queen Garnet plum and the effects the anthocyanin had on cardiovascular activities in humans. The results have been impressive and will now form the basis for larger human trials."
In addition to a balanced diet, the anthocyanin in the Queen Garnet plum nectar could prove a simple way for Australians to help reduce their risk of heart disease.
"Elevated and high blood pressure is a major health concern, with one in four Australians having unmanaged blood pressure issues," Mr Couch said.
The researchers at the University of Wollongong attribute this effect to the fruit's anthocyanin content, as it has about two times the levels found in regular plums.
Licensed fresh fruit marketer Harrowsmiths International's Alistair Brown said Granite Belt producers could play a big part in the Queen Garnet's production rates going forward.
With three farms near Stanthorpe growing the product and a 75,000-strong tree plantation at Warroo Station near Inglewood, the area is primed to stack the shelves with the super food.
But there's still a bit of a wait before we can sink our teeth into one.
"It'll be on shelves the last week of January with all things going to plan," Mr Brown said.
"There's certainly been challenging weather conditions but at this stage we're probably a couple weeks off ascertaining the true crop forecast.
"As always, it's probably not as big as we'd like, or would have hoped, but there will certainly be Queen Garnet out there."
Mr Brown put the growing popularity of the plum down to taste, as opposed to the super food tag it had been given.
"There's certainly been that label put on them," he said.
"I think that label has interested people to try them but from my perspective it's more about it being a very nice piece of fruit, a great eating piece of fruit and very tasty.
"The fact that it has got potential benefits is just a bit of icing on top of the story I suppose.
"I think the reason why people are liking it is because consistently week in week out when you go and buy a Queen Garnet it's the same eating experience.
"That can't be said for the plum category in general. It has struggled with some inconsistency there in eating qualities.
"It's been good to launch something that is generally consistent across the board ... taking in seasonal factors.
"They sell out every year. At this stage we've got an over-demand and an under-supplied product."