The Naturally Nutritious project, which ran from 2016 until 2021, investigated the health benefits of a range of fruit, vegetables, and nuts to inform the development of innovative appealing products that are nutrient-dense, can be differentiated in the marketplace, and are visually attractive and flavoursome.
This study opened the way toward more personalised healthy food choices amongst horticultural products based on individual characteristics. The project team made several recommendations for targeted investigations, research and development particular to specific crop sectors and varieties.
The project capitalised on the knowledge that fruits, vegetables and nuts are good for you, and explored the possibilities of further enhancing their health benefits through increasing nutrient density. A wide range of fruit, vegetables, and nuts presently exist, and within each of these, numerous varieties are present with a huge diversity in nutrient content. Some of these nutrients are linked to the colour of the fruit or vegetable, while others are less obvious. The project documented a range of specific nutrients and determined the possibility to further enhance levels through targeted breeding programs.
The Naturally Nutritious project also investigated which fruit, vegetables and nuts make people eat less by making them feel full, and those that maintain a full feeling for longer. It also explored how these different products affect human gut bacteria.