Daisy extract for diabetes, broccoli for high blood pressure? The role that plants, fruit and vegetables play in the prevention of lifestyle diseases was the topic at the Eferding Nutrition Forum, which took place yesterday for the third time in Starhemberg Castle. And this year the organizers, host Georg Starhemberg (Campus Eferding), efko managing director Klaus Hraby and Otmar Höglinger, head of the food technology course at the Wels University of Applied Sciences, were able to win internationally renowned speakers – and welcome more than 150 interested listeners in the ballroom of the castle .

The specialist lectures focused on the state of research on the mode of action of herbal ingredients, for example in the treatment of diabetes. On the other hand, there was also data that was already clearly scientifically proven. “Studies show, for example, that regular consumption of fruit and vegetables prolongs life,” said Bernhard Watzl, head of the Max Rubner Federal Research Institute for Food in Karlsruhe, which researches the connections between nutrition and health. “And we’re talking about 400 grams of vegetables and 250 grams of fruit per day.” Anyone who can do that is doing a lot right, says Watzl. “It’s that simple: Eat more fruit and vegetables!”

Live longer and better

This would not only live longer, but also significantly reduce the risk of illness. “That means you not only have more years, but also more years in good health. Many diseases come much later or even not at all,” said Watzl.

He advised against juices: “Smoothies contain hardly any fiber or secondary plant substances, which are not an adequate substitute.” The preparation also plays a role. “For some vegetables, the ingredients are only available to us in a raw state to a limited extent – tomatoes or carrots, for example. That’s why my recommendation is to eat part raw and part cooked.” It doesn’t matter whether you roast, grill or boil the vegetables. “Because anything that makes people eat more vegetables is good.”

Doris Marko from the University of Vienna, who researches extracts from foods such as berries or grapes, pointed out that anyone who eats a balanced diet does not need any dietary supplements. Even if the shelves in the drugstores are full of such pills or powders, in which the active ingredients are very often concentrated in very high doses, “I don’t see any advantage in it at the moment,” she explained. A big problem, however: “There is no study on the intake of such preparations in high concentrations over a longer period of time.” In addition, far too little is known about interactions with other drugs.