A team of Norwich scientists has created a sweet Spanish orange that contains the health-giving red pigments of the Sicilian blood orange.
The boffin are confident the fruit will yield a ‘superjuice’ that helps to combat a range of medical disorders, from obesity and heart disease to irritable bowel syndrome.
Blood oranges are rich in anthocyanins, which are also believed to protect the body against a wide range of illnesses.
Blood orange juice are known to prevent weight gain, and studies have shown that even one drink of blood orange juice can improve cardiovascular risk factors compared to blonde orange juice.
The hard part is that blood oranges are extremely difficult to cultivate, due to needing periods of cold temperatures immediately prior to harvesting, to stimulate the production of the anthocyanins.
As such, the cultivation of blood oranges is largely confined to one of the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Now, with the new strain of the fruit, the scientists hope to extend production of blood-red oranges to Spain and Brazil.
In one unpublished experiment involving 25 volunteers who ate a full English breakfast, those who drank half a litre of blood orange juice with their meal had significantly lower risk factors for heart disease, such as fatty acids, in the bloodstream.