Japanese pickle primed to be next superfood

Sam Downing
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Suguki (Getty Images)

This Japanese pickle might not look appetising, but it could join goji berries, kale and coconut water as the next big superfood.

Scientists have discovered that the suguki, a pickled turnip popular in Japan, harbours bacteria that can boost the body's immune system and ward off the flu.

"Our results show that when a particular strain of Lactobacillus brevis is eaten by mice, it has protective effects against influenza virus infection," said lead researcher Naoko Waki, from Japanese food and beverage company Kagome.

Her team's next step will be demonstrating that the bacteria has the same benefits for humans as it does for mice. A probiotic drink rich in the bacteria is currently being trialled.

Suguki lovers have talked up its health benefits. It's not yet known why the bacteria in it is so effective, though it's thought to be linked to a layer of sugars that protects it from stomach acids.

Source: ScienceDaily

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