Healthy “new” foods

New Barley
Australian scientists are leading the world in improving the nutrition of foods. Recently, they have announced the production of two new foods higher in compounds that protect our health. And, best of all, these foods are not genetically modified. They were produced using conventional plant breeding techniques.

Scientists at our CSIRO and Austgrains have developed a variety of barley, BARLEYmax®, that has twice the soluble and insoluble fibre of oats or wheat, and also contains ‘resistant starch’, which provides food for the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Health professionals advise us that a good intake of fibre is important in maintaining bowel health and reducing the risk of bowel cancer.

In addition to a high fibre content, breakfast foods, breads and muffins made with BARLEYmax also have a low glycaemic index, making them beneficial for diabetics and people on weight reduction diets.

Its naturally sweet, slight nutty flavour should also make it a welcome addition to breakfast foods that will soon be available in Australian supermarkets.


New Broccoli
A new variety of broccoli that has been scientifically proven to contain 40 percent more antioxidants than regular varieties was released this week. Antioxidants in food reduce the risk of a range of diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers and obesity, and the higher the concentration of antioxidants in food, the fewer calories are consumed for maximum health benefits. This new broccoli also contains high levels of the antioxidant Sulforaphane (SF) that binds to toxins and prevents them from entering cells’ genetic material, then flushes them from the body. Eating broccoli about three times a week can be beneficial to health.*

 Marketed as ‘Booster Broccoli’, this new vegetable was developed by Australian scientists at the Department of Primary Industries (Victoria), Vilmorin Cie and Plant & Food Research. It is the first in a range of ‘Vital Vegetables’ that are grown naturally by Australian growers using sustainable farming practices including minimal fertiliser and water, but are not considered organic because minimal amounts of pesticides are sometimes used to control pests. They are without any genetic engineering or modification. It has taken 10 years to develop ‘Booster Broccoli’ by traditional breeding, but now that scientists have succeeded with broccoli, other vegetables with enhanced health benefits will quickly follow.

For further information about Vital Vegetables and where to buy ‘Booster Broccoli’, visit

 * Excessive consumption of broccoli and other Brassica vegetables can reduce activity of the thyroid gland, which controls metabolism. The thyroid activity lowering drug Carbimazole was developed after observing rabbits fed on a raw cabbage diet. Moderate consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in order to obtain a full range of antioxidants is the recommendation of health professionals.


4 thoughts on “Healthy “new” foods

  1. Thanks Lyn, Always great to have nutrient-dense vegetables but if they are grown in nutrient-deficient soils as many conventional farms have then there is likely to be some reduction in the vegetable’s benefits. Better to address the soil fertility issue as a means to produce nutrient-dense veg.

    I completely agree with you Robyn. However, the producers assure us that the ‘vital vegetable’ range is grown by local farmers “under strict Quality Assurance (QA) protocols emphasising sustainable farming practices”. The broccoli has proven to be somewhat drought tolerant and naturally resistant to some Brassica pests and diseases – which is a typical characteristic of plants grown using good organic practices. I also think that being able to produce nutrient dense vegetables by natural methods proves that we don’t need GM food crops to “save the world”. Biotech companies have failed to deliver on their promises for more nutritious food crops.

  2. I hadn’t heard about the barley either.
    These are interesting concepts. My concerns are also the plastic packaging and the trademarking. I know the interested parties are protecting that 10 years of work but the issue of ownership and control concerns me.
    Also, the phytonutrient that makes it booster broccoli breaks down quickly with cooking- one to two minutes maximum cooking time is recommended. How many people will pay the extra for their anti-cancer therapy and then cook it for 8 minutes and kill all the benefits.
    I also don’t like the way it has been advertised on all commercial networks as ‘news’.
    It screams gimmick and clever marketing ploys to me. Sorry.

  3. Thanks for this post Lyn, I hadn’t heard about the barley. The ‘Booster Broccoli’ seems interesting- especially as it is not GM or engineered (as I had first thought) However, two thumbs down to them for the horrid plastic packaging, to say it is “to keep every bit fresher, for longer” is not a good enough to justify overpackaging in plastic (in my opinion).
    I’m also wondering about the TM in ‘Booster Broccoli TM’ – do you think the trademark means it will not be available to home gardeners? Will the ownership mean no seeds/seedsaving for growers?

    Just wondering …. suspiciously …. 🙂

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