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USQ researchers unlocking the potential of food to combat disease

Three people standing near plants
USQ researchers are investigating the potential for certain foods to improve health; Queen Garnet plum grower Bim Goodrich with USQ’s Dr Sunil Panchal and Professor Lindsay Brown.
Could the key to preventing some diseases lie in functional foods?

USQ researchers are looking at the relevance certain functional foods have to health benefits and the role they have to improve health by preventing or reducing chronic and inflammatory disorders such as obesity.

Foods include locally-grown Queen Garnet plums, purple carrots, chia seeds and seaweeds.

By investigating these functional foods, researchers can determine the potential for them to reverse human obesity and chronic inflammatory diseases affecting the heart, liver, kidney and joints.

Toowoomba residents are invited to join the conversation at the upcoming Healthy Living Forum, held as part of USQ’s annual Functional Foods Festival.

This is a free public event and will be held from 5pm to 7pm at the Empire Church Theatre Auditorium on Monday, September 11.

The forum will showcase the work of internationally renowned Professor Grant Pierce, Executive Director of the St Boniface Research Centre in Canada, who will discuss his research on dietary linseed and its role in providing significant benefits to our cardiovascular health.

Professor Pierce has delivered over 250 invited lectures in 31 countries and received multiple awards for research excellence.

He provides a wealth of knowledge in the area of functional foods, in particular their potential to improve heart and vascular health.

Dr Sunil Panchal, from USQ’s Functional Foods Research Group, urged anyone interested in learning how recent research can help improve their own health and also the health of their community, to attend the free event.

“Toowoomba residents will have the opportunity to hear from USQ researchers and international experts on foods that have the potential to improve their health and how to incorporate them into their everyday lives,” Dr Panchal said.

“This is a tangible way in which we can demonstrate the world-class research that we do and how we provide value to local industry and the community - not only showcasing our work but bringing together international industry experts.”

The role of functional foods in local communities will form the basis of the Functional Foods Festival, bringing together community members, researchers and health industry professionals across events in Toowoomba, Ipswich and Springfield.

For more information and to register, visit