Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Foods to prevent health problems

Blackcurrants
The scientists want to use waste from when blackcurrants are processed

Scottish scientists are working on ways of using blackcurrant waste to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), near Dundee, aims to develop food ingredients from protective compounds found in the fruit.

The work was disclosed when ministers joined scientists looking into foods that can boost health.

Others are working on a tomato extract which may reduce heart disease and on bread which may help control diabetes.

The work on tomatoes is being carried out by scientists at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, who have discovered a tomato extract which prevents blood platelets being activated in response to the stresses of daily life and ageing.

'Significant input'

The Rowett has also developed a type of bread with a high oat content. Oats are thought to have a beneficial impact on glucose control and could help people with diabetes.

Rural Affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scottish science is making a significant input to our developing national food and drink policy, which aims to boost the industry and support healthier and more environmentally sustainable choices.

"This high-calibre research is helping our primary producers to maintain and enhance the quality of our food and drink, whilst creating new opportunities for processors."

Public Health Minister Shona Robison added: "A nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle can help us get the most out of life. They give us more energy, better physical and mental wellbeing and help combat serious health problems.

"We have a lot of work to do to help people to improve their eating habits and it is exciting to hear evidence from Scottish scientists that can inform the choices we make as individuals, communities and as a country."

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