Thursday, June 28, 2007

Prunes and blueberries might have less antioxidant effect than thought

Not all fruit antioxidants behave alike, USDA 6/13/07 "Not all fruit antioxidants behave the same according to a recent study conducted by USDA researchers, information that reinforces the need for further research into how antioxidants perform in, led by Ronald Prior...As part of the US Department of Agriculture's study, nutritionists from the Agricultural Research Service assessed antioxidant capacity (AOC) measured as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC)...They were given blueberries, grapes, kiwifruit, strawberry, cherry and dried plums...the high antioxidant content of plums, the fruit did not in fact raise the AOC plasma levels in participants. This was attributed to the fact plums contain chlorogenic acid, a phytochemicals not easily absorbed by humans...results for blueberries, which are lauded for their high antioxidant content, were somewhat more surprising. The nutritionists needed significantly large servings - a half-cup serving of the berries - in the study in order to elevate AOC levels...Consumption of grapes and kiwi in the study boosted plasma AOC levels, but the authors said they were not certain which compounds were responsible for this..."

This is a bit surprising. Prunes take a hit. I'll wait for further research before I lessen my intake. And one of the kings of antioxidants the blueberry also takes a knock. Obviously we need much more nuanced research into how antioxidants affect us. For instance there's little study of the many changes to cellular signalling of certain antioxidants - like curcumin.

For reference the same researcher did a similar study on cocoa. Cocoa in the right form is probably better for you than blueberries and can be cheaper. I noticed this week that Hershey's have finally put the number of mg's of flavanols in each serving of some of their higher end chocolates. I hope Dove follows suite. After what Norman Hollenberg of Harvard said of chocolates key antioxidant - that it should be considered as important as penicillin - I'm expecting an all out cocoa war on store shelves for the next few years.

For an alternative theory of how flavanols work look at this research out of OSU - very compelling in parts. Interesting article and well worth visiting.

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