The European Food Safety Agency has agreed that certain fibres can improve cholesterol and that low sodium helps blood pressure in its latest verdicts on health claims made by food manufacturers.

The formal advice is among 536 formal opinions released today (30 June) as EFSA nears the end of its marathon assessment of food health claims. 

The EU's food watchdog said that specific dietary fibres can improve blood cholesterol levels, while cereal fibre boosts bowel function. 

EFSA also said that low sodium does improve blood and carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks help endurance performance.

A remaining group of 35 assessments comes next month. The European Commission has the power to ban or allow claims under EU food health claims legislation and it usually accepts EFSA's guidance.

In its latest assessments, the agency, however, rejected as unfounded claims that foodstuffs promote mental energy and women's health. It said such slogans "were not sufficiently specific" to be scientifically reliable.

Its panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies also rejected claims for "too broad" food categories, such as fruits and vegetables and dairy products.