Blueberry research could help diabetes sufferers

Research aimed at boosting blueberry production in Scotland could be set to have the additional benefit of helping diabetes sufferers control their disorder, it has been claimed.

Boosting blueberry production in Scotland could have health and economic benefits. Picture: Ermal Meta/AFP/Getty Images

Work using new plant breeding technology to help blueberry crops thrive in the Scottish climate is being carried out at the James Hutton Research Institute, funded by a Scottish Government grant.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Rowett institute have shown that drinking a concentrated extract made from the berries significantly lowers glucose levels after eating.

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Outlining where some of the state-funded research was being spent, environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said that Scottish blueberry production was already on the increase and new research should help boost local production of this fruit further. She said this was better for the environment and also good news for the economy.

With the area of the crop in Scotland having risen by 10 per cent over the past year alone, Cunningham said that producing more of this healthy foodstuff for the home market could also have the benefit of contributing to the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes – which in turn could lead to a healthier population.

Cunningham said: “Blueberries are an increasingly popular fruit in the UK. They are widely considered to have health benefits and of course they count as one of the five a day for fruit and veg.

“Traditionally blueberries are imported to Scotland but this innovative research we are funding is using new technology to develop plants that are more suitable for the Scottish soil and climate.”