Tag Archives: antioxidants

5 Delicious Foods With Antioxidants

Cranberries

Around this time of year, I begin to miss the bright, colorful fruits and vegetables that I can find fresh in the farmer’s market during the summer. It seems that eating healthy during the summer is sometimes easier, because there is an abundance of fresh, nutrient-dense foods at your fingertips. But getting health-boosting nutrients, like antioxidants, is important all year long. Continue reading 5 Delicious Foods With Antioxidants

Cloves: The New Super Food?

Cloves

are the new healthy super spice because of the high levels of natural antioxidants.

Spanish researchers discovered the spice

cloves

was the best antioxidant because of the high levels of phenolic compounds it contained.

Antioxidants are crucial in keeping food fresh and the findings could have wide-ranging implications for the food industry.

Cloves

are also believed to have health benefits.

The study has been hailed as a win for the push towards more natural foods as cloves would be able to replace synthetic antioxidants which are currently used by manufacturers to make food last longer.

Professor Juana Fernández-López, from Spain’s Miguel Hernández University, said cloves were a versatile spice.

“Out of the five antioxidant properties tested, cloves had the highest capacity to give off hydrogen, reduced lipid peroxidation well, and was the best iron reducer”, she said.

The research study, published in the latest issue of the Flavour and Fragrance Journal, ranked the spice as the best natural antioxidant.

clovesProf Fernandez-Lopez said: “The results show that use of the natural oxidants occurring in spices used in the Mediterranean diet, or their extracts, is a viable option for the food industry, as long as the characteristics of the food product are not affected.

“These substances exhibit high antioxidant capacity, and could have beneficial effects for health.”

The researchers also evaluated the antioxidant effect of the essential oils from other spices used in the Mediterranean diet oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage.

They were trying to find out if these spices could be used into food products, especially meat, as natural antioxidants.

Prof Fernandez-Lopez said antioxidants kept food fresh because it delayed lipid oxidation.

“Lipid oxidation is one of the main reasons for foods deteriorating, and causes a significant reduction in their nutritional value, as well as loss of taste”, she said.

“These alterations lead to a reduction in the useful lifespan of the food product. To avoid such deterioration, the food industry uses synthetic antioxidants in its products.

“However, as these are chemical compounds, questions have been raised about their potential toxicity and side-effects.”

Prof Fernandez-Lopez said there was a growing interest in using plant-based products with potential antioxidant activity, in order to replace the synthetic antioxidants with “natural” substances.

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Strawberries As A Home Remedy

Strawberries

sure surprised me…

Many foods are valuable sources of antioxidants. But researchers have recently ranked the 50 best antioxidant sources among commonly eaten foods and found

strawberries

to be quite exceptional.

When total antioxidant capacity was measured,

strawberries

ranked 27th best among U.S. foods. In addition, when only fruits were considered, strawberries came out 4th among all fruits (behind blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries).

Since many foods (for example, spices and seasonings) are seldom consumed in amounts as large as 3.5 ounces, researchers also looked at common serving sizes for all foods and their total antioxidant capacity.

In this evaluation, strawberries came out 3rd among all U.S. foods including spices, seasonings, fruits, and vegetables!

Only blackberries and walnuts scored higher in total antioxidant capacity.

Research has shown strawberries to be a surprisingly fragile, perishable, and delicate fruit.

Food scientists recently took a close look at storage time, storage temperature, storage humidity, and degree of strawberry ripeness and found significant differences between different types of strawberry storage. On average, studies show 2 days as the maximal time for strawberry storage without major loss of vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants.

It’s not that strawberries become dangerous to eat or invaluable after 2 days. It’s just that more storage time brings along with it substantially more nutrient loss.

In terms of humidity, 90-95% has been shown optimal. Most refrigerators will average a much lower humidity (between 80-90%).

Because air circulation inside the fridge can lower humidity, you may want to give your strawberries more storage humidity by putting them in your refrigerator’s cold storage bins.

If your fridge does not have storage bins, you can use a sealed container for refrigerator storage of your strawberries.

Optimal temperature for strawberry storage over a 2-day period has been found to be relatively cold, (36F) (2C).

Public health organizations only recommend refrigerator temperatures of 40F (4.4C) as the maximum safe level for food storage. But, if you are storing sizable amounts of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries in your refrigerator, you may want to set your refrigerator to a lower than maximum temperature setting in the range of 36-38F (2-3C).

In terms of ripeness, recent studies have found that both under ripeness and over ripeness can have an unexpectedly large impact on the phytonutrient content of strawberries, especially their antioxidant polyphenols.

Fortunately, optimal strawberry ripeness can be judged by color. Consume your strawberries when their pinkish red color is most vibrant.

Improved blood sugar regulation has been a long-standing area of interest in research on strawberries and health.

However, scientists have recently discovered a fascinating relationship between intake of strawberries, table sugar, and blood sugar levels. You might not expect this blood sugar spike to be reduced by simultaneous consumption of strawberries! Yet that’s exactly what researchers have discovered.

With the equivalent of approximately one cup of fresh strawberries (approximately 150 grams), blood sugar elevations from simple sugar intake can be reduced. Researchers have speculated that polyphenols in strawberries play a major role in helping regulate blood sugar response.

This finding is great news for healthy persons wanting to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and also for persons with type 2 diabetes who enjoy fresh strawberries and want to enjoy them on a regular basis.

Given their amazing combination of phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic acids, it’s not surprising to find increasing research interest in the anti-inflammatory properties of strawberries.

It’s exciting to see this remarkable fruit lowering level of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) when consumed several days per week, in everyday amounts of approximately one cup.

Research has now shown that several blood markers for chronic, unwanted inflammation, can be improved by regular intake of strawberries.

One study showed, consumption of strawberries did not display anti-inflammatory benefits until strawberries were consumed at least 3 times per week.

This research is why we recommend inclusion of berries at least 3-4 times per week in your overall fruit consumption.