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dic 17, 2015
Categoria: Athena Project - News Store
Inserito da: deusexmachina

Project leader Cathie Martin reveals her dream: plant scientists  can contribute innovative ways of looking and understanding the benefits of food in our diets 

Athena Project - News Store
 

Newsletter

dic 17, 2015

A role for plant scientists in promoting health


Project leader Cathie Martin reveals her dream: plant scientists  can contribute innovative ways of looking and understanding the benefits of food in our diets 

Categoria: Athena Project - News Store
Inserito da: deusexmachina

After almost 10 years of European collaborative activities on anthocyanins and health, ATHENA project leader Cathie Martin sums up the major achievements and future perspectives in the field of plant studies for human health.

Cathie, what are your thoughts at the end of the ATHENA study?

In one way, it’s really sad because this is a group of friends who have been working together for almost 10 years and this is, for sure, an added value to the whole project. Our strength has been putting putting in contact from different disciplines, and allowing them to work together on national and international activities. We started our partnership with the FLORA study and the promising results we obtained convinced us to take another step forward; this is how ATHENA was conceived. Now, after 5 years of collaboration, we definitely reinforced our belief that dietary anthocyanins are really good for health. Our major task now is understanding how can we actually change the way people eat, and encourage them towards healthier diets.

Do you think we are ready to tell people anthocyanins are good for health and encourage them to add these compounds to their diet?

I think we should. We haven’t found anything negative about anthocyanins but only positive effects for health. It is true that most of our studies are still in animals, but actually I cannot see any reason to discourage people from consuming larger amounts of foods rich in anthocyanins.

It’s time for clinicians to start looking at these data and thinking about prevention which is just as important as therapy. Intervention with food as combination therapy in chronic diseases can do a lot to ameliorate the outcome.

What are the other steps ahead?

We definitely need to try to apply the knowledge we generated over the last 10 years of research.

We need to find ways we can encourage consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods in everybody’s diet. In general, our commitment is to deliver an evidence-based message for health. This should be the task of people who can really make the difference in the health field. I am talking about clinicians, but also food companies.

Do you think the ATHENA research team shall back together again? 

It would be lovely to meet up again. But I also think it’s time for a new generation of people to lead new projects. What would be the best for me, as a fundamental scientist, would be that plant science was recognized as being able to contribute very innovative ways of looking and understanding the benefits of food in our diets. I’d love to see one day medical people finally saying “yes, plant scientists can help me in evaluating the good things in the foods we eat”. This is very important, I think.