10 Nov 2014

Pacific plants highly nutritious - scientist

6:51 am on 10 November 2014

An Australian scientist says the nutritional benefits of locally grown plants can have huge health benefits in the fight against non-communicable diseases in the Pacific.

Cheaper fruit and vegetables helped bring down food prices.

Cheaper fruit and vegetables helped bring down food prices. Photo: RNZ

Adelaide University's Graham Lyons says research into leafy vegetables that grow well in Pacific nations show they have high nutritional value but some have been overlooked as potential food sources.

Dr Lyons says so-called 'greens' in the diet can prevent lifestyle diseases and fact sheets have helped to identify and promote edible plants such as sweetleaf and drumstick tree.

"It's just a matter of getting more of these foods into the diet. And also making people more aware of the bad foods they're eating which are killing them 20 years younger than they should, and people are getting their legs cut off and what have you, it's horrific. And more encouragement for people to produce and consume their local nutritious plants."

A University of Adelaide Research Fellow, Graham Lyons.