Systematic Review: Rose hips ‘underutilized’ in nutrition says new study

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock/Oksix
Photo: iStock/Oksix

Related tags: Nutrition

The ubiquitous rose hip plant easily grows in North America, and one researcher advocates increasing its inclusion in the human diet beyond just pies, jellies, and jams.

Rose hips are an unexploited nutrition source, wrote San Diego State University researcher Seema Patel in her study​ published in the journal Trends in Food Science and Technology​.

“The fruits of rose plants (Rosa sp.) have been discovered to be rich in polyphenols (triterpene acids, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, catechin), essential fatty acids, galactolipid, folate, vitamin A, C and E, and minerals among other bioactive components,”​ she added.

Rose hips are a common ingredient in the culinary cultures of many European and Native American cultures, such as the Chumash of California and Samish of the Pacific Northwest, according to Patel. It’s also used in Chinese medicine as well as the Chinese. Despite this, its consumption remained scarce.

But it is gaining traction as a botanical supplement, and it has been studied for its benefits in weight management​ and heart health​. “Only recently, as the craze for health foods escalated, they have garnered attention,” ​Patel wrote. She added that thanks to high-end analytical and phytochemical analysis techniques, rose hips have been validated to be as ‘edible’ as other Rosaceae fruits (which includes apples, pears, peaches, and apricots).

Reviewing studies: Liver health to cardiovascular

Patel looked at both in vivo ​and in vitro ​clinical studies, as well as cohort studies, that have suggested pharmacological properties of rose hip derivatives. This includes studies on rose hip’s antioxidative properties.

In one study, flavonoids from R. laevigata ​Michx reversed hepatotoxicity (which leads to liver disorders) in mice, and in another, mice supplemented with the flavonoid experienced suppressed lipid accumulation in liver.

The same flavonoid was also observed to reduce cardiovascular risks in obese individuals supplemented with 40g of rose hip powder for six weeks by lowering systolic blood pressure, plasma cholesterol levels, and low-density lipoprotein.

‘Even if rose hip extract cannot alleviate complex metabolic diseases, it can promote healthy redox status of the body’

From the studies that she analyzed, which range from 2006 to 2014, Patel argued that the case is clear for rose hip’s benefits: “A myriad of multi-paradigm studies have supported the nutraceutical potency of rose hips, attributing them to their ample polyphenol, flavonoids, galactolipids, vitamins and other bioactive components,”​ she wrote.

Another plus, especially for the US market, is that it grows locally. “While people are showing interest to consume exotic functional foods like acai berry, quinoa etc., letting locally-grown nutrient reserves to go waste is unreasonable,”​ she wrote.

Source: Trends in Food Science & Technology
Published online ahead of print, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2017.03.001
"Rose hip as an underutilized functional food: Evidence-based review"
Author: Seema Patel

Related topics: Research

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