Modern agriculture has a tendency to highly specialise on a few selected crops. However, there are many reasons to embrace of biodiversity.
Recent research undertaken by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation has found that native species exhibited superior antioxidant capacity comported to Blueberry, which known world-wide as a health-promoting agent.
These super foods also contain vitamin E and folate. Rich sources of lutein, a compound essential for eye health, as well as magnesium, zinc and calcium. Compounds necessary for the synthesis and repair of human DNA.
The use of Wattle seeds (of the commercially traded species) has a Traditional use of at least 4000 years as an Aboriginal staple food ingredient. High in fatty acid composition, has low glycaemic index and anti-tumour activity (McDonald et al, 2006). Nutty, hazel with coffee/bitterness undertones.
Found in Bush Tomato and Wattle Seed, trace amounts of Selenium are necessary for cellular function in humans. Se forms the active center of antioxidant enzymes, whose role is to protect the organism from oxidative damage. Subsequently, it provides antioxidant benefits and participates in the body’s natural defences. Bush Tomato has twice the antioxidant capacity that of Blueberry.
Native Pepper Berry
Native Pepper is derived from the leaves and berries of a common woody rainforest shrub or small tree, Tasmannia lanceolata, found in the wet forests. Native Pepper belongs to one of the earliest families of flowering plants. The plant’s fruits and foliage contain a hot chilli/pepper-like factor (polygodial), with a unique aroma and flavour. Zhao et al (2007) found Native pepper leaf and berries demonstrated very strong antimicrobial activity against common food-born human pathogens, common food spoilage bacteria, yeasts and moulds. It has also been shown to have significant antioxidant activity. In fact, Native Pepper Leaf has x8 antioxidant capacity of Blueberry. Konczak et al (2009) research demonstrated that Tasmannia pepper leaf exhibited the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity of all native foods tested. ß-carotene 2.30 mg/100g DW, which is ten times the amount in blueberries.
Indigenous Australians have long used lemon myrtle, both in cuisine and as a healing plant. Lemon Myrtle is high lutein. Lutein plays an important role in eye health. It improves visual function and symptoms in atrophic age-related macular
degeneration. Lutein protects the retina from damage by inhibiting inflammation.
Lemon Myrtle is exceptionally rich in calcium and can become a great source of calcium for vegan/vegetarian diets.
Lemon myrtle has x4 antioxidant capacity compared to Blueberry. Lemon Myrtle is a universal herb, that is fantastic for cooking mains, snacks, slants marinates and especially deserts.
Research found, that these Australian Superfoods contain exceptionally high composition of phenolic compounds, with multiplicity of phytochemicals, native fruits, herbs and spices may contribute greatly to diversify and enhance daily diets.
However, these emerging foods need to compete not only with larger, well established, often industrialised sectors, such as fruits, herbs and spice, but also counter mining & climate change to preserve biodiversity and hidden gems of Australia's forests.
We are starting a small batch project to share this goodness with the world. If you would like to take your taste buds on a journey, support Australian Wild.