A new aperitif biscuit claimed to help prevent kidney stones has been launched by the Balearic University's Sciences of Health Research Institute (IUNICS). It comes in the form of short sticks and is made from seeds of the carob tree.
This new product will be marketed as Galefit by the company Galletes Rossellons and was presented yesterday by Luis Angel Ramis de Ayreflor, the Balearic minister of finance, taxation and innovation, Dr Felix Grases, chemistry professor at the University and Rector Avel.lí Blasco.
The biscuit was described as a functional food, as, if eaten regularly, two or three times a week, they reduce the possibilities of suffering kidney stones by 30 to 40 per cent, Grases claimed yesterday.
They contain phytates, an antioxidant which prevents the formation of stones, and which is a component found in the seeds and shells of wholegrain cereals and nuts.
Grases explained that a recent study by Harvard University, based on a survey of 96'000 people, showed the efficiency of phytates, a substance which the human organism generates but does not store, in the prevention of kidney stones.
He stressed that the biscuits are not a medicine, because they cannot dissolve existing stones and therefore do not have the capacity to cure, but they do prevent the formation of kidney stones. According to Grases, 12.4 per cent of the population suffer from kdiney stones, and the incidence is higher in Mediterranean countries, mainly because of the diet and the climate. But, he said, contrary to what most people think, hard water does not favour the formation of kidney stones.
All the research on the new product has been developed in the Balearics, at the Research Institute.
This is the second functional food which Galletes Rossellons and the University research department have marketed together. The first were olive oil biscuits, and nearly 250'000 bags have been sold in a year and a half.
Grasses said that the new biscuits are also rich in vitamins and aminoacids, and so are highly nutritious.
He added that his latest research is centred on testing the capacity of the phytates to prevent some types of cancer, particularly skin and colon cancer.