Volunteers wanted for fruit and vegetable study

Aberdeen scientists are seeking healthy volunteers for a new study into how fruit and vegetables protect the body against cancer and heart disease.

The study will examine the positive impact that increasing our daily intake of a variety of fruit and vegetables has on reducing the risk of these chronic diseases.

Researchers are looking for 60 male and female volunteers age 40 – 55, who typically eat a diet which is low in fruit and vegetables.

Volunteers will be provided with 5 portions of fruit and vegetables and 2 glasses of fruit juice to incorporate into their normal daily diet

Dr Charles Bestwick from the University of Aberdeen, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health who is leading the study said: “It will seem to many that the fruit and vegetable story has been heard before, but historically many studies have focused on the health benefits provided by very specific types of fruit or vegetables or have been conducted over relatively short periods of time.

“While such studies have been and are invaluable to our understanding of diet and health, our new study will focus on fruits and vegetables within the diet as a whole, examining the effect eating greater amounts and a more diverse range has on the markers in the body which might indicate decreased risk of chronic disease.

“The project brings together a team of scientists with a range of complementary expertise and this will allow us to provide a very detailed picture of the response to improving total fruit and vegetable intake.”

Produce will be provided by, amongst others, Cfine, Scotherbs and Kettle Produce Ltd.

Fruit and vegetables that are commonly and readily available from supermarkets, independent shops and food co-operatives such as strawberries, apples, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are just some of the foods which will be used.

Dr Bestwick continues: “Though there are some encouraging signs of an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption in the Scottish population, there are still insufficient fruits and vegetables within the Scottish diet.

“The intention of the study is to build a clear picture of the daily diet we should ideally be eating to protect us against chronic disease.  A key ethos amongst the research team is the importance of quality produce being an accessible and affordable choice for people and we are delighted to have the support of local and regional producers and suppliers.”

The study is funded through the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health’s Scottish Government Rural Environment Research and Analysis Directorate’s (RERAD) Work Programme Funding and it is hoped the results of the study will be used to advise Scottish Government’s Health Advice Framework.  

Volunteers for the study should be local to the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area or willing to travel to the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health where the study will be conducted.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Dr Vanessa Rungapamestry at the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health on 01224 716 618 or v.rungapamestry@abdn.ac.uk