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Fruitful crops expected

Feijoa growers are expecting a very high quality crop of fruit stemming from near optimum conditions of the very warm summer.

Hot, dry weather is ideal for the production of a high quality crop, and fruit quality for the season is looking very good, said the president of the New Zealand Feijoa Growers Association, Tim Harper.

Not only is a good crop expected but the feijoa has been scoring very well in the analysis of its health benefits.

In recent years research teams around the world have found extracts from the fruit to contain comparatively high levels of the compounds that enhance anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity.

In one measure of antioxidant activity, the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand (HortResearch) ranked feijoas just over mid-way in comparison with other popular fruit, confirming the potential for the fruit as a functional food ingredient.

The antioxidant activity of the fruit is based on its relatively high content of compounds known as proanthocynanins — a class of polyphenolics that are widely promoted for their health enhancing properties.

The proanthocyanins have also been reported to reduce inflammation.

Based on their trials to date, scientific researchers agree there is evidence to support the use of proanthocyanin-based foods and dietary supplements as effective antioxidants.

Feijoas also have high levels of Vitamin C, and are high in minerals and fibre.

They are expected to be on sale by mid-March and available until early June this year.

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