Is Down Under the new Amazon for
By Stephen Daniells
6/14/2007 - Scientists in Australia are scrutinizing the country's flora for fruit with the potential to tap into the growing trend of exotic fruits as sources of colours, flavours & health ingredients.
analyst Mintel predicted last year that interest in fruits sourced from the Amazon would continue to grow due to consumer trends towards natural products & exotic ingredients.
Exotic fruits such as acai & cupuacu are gaining notoriety for both their anti-aging benefits
& thru a link to the "super-foods" concept.
"The search for world unique food
ingredients & flavours with enhanced health-beneficial properties is at present one of the key market trends. Botanicals
from the regions linked to wellness & natural functionality with exotic fruits called "superfruits", such as acai from
Amazonia, are becoming a popular target of health-conscious consumers & industry managers," wrote lead author Michael
Netzela from Food Science Australia.
"We propose [for
the first time 12 native Australian fruits] to be considered as a potential source of bioactive phytochemicals
for application in health promoting foods," he added in the journal Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies.
Netzela & collaborators from Wisconsin-based Pharmaceutical Product Development & The Ohio State University
compared the phenolic content & the radical scavenging activities of 12 native Australian fruits with blueberries.
& radical scavenging activities were measured using the Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC) assay & the
Photochemiluminescence (PCL) assay, while the total phenolic content was determined using the Folin-Ciocalteu assay.
& co-workers report that the selected fruits are rich sources of antioxidants, with stronger radical scavenging activities
compared to blueberries TEAC value of 39.45 trolox equivalents per gram, Kakadu plum & Burdekin plum had TEAC values of
204.8 & 192.0 trolox equivalents per gram, respectively.
"Therefore, utilizing native Australian fruits as
sources of bioactive phytochemicals could offer enormous opportunities for the functional food industry. Studies for the identification
of further antioxidant compounds as well as clinical trials for testing the fruits bioactivity in vivo are in progress,"
More research is also needed to examine the potential of the fruit to offer novel sources of colours & flavours for the food industry.
The researchers examined the potential of:
- riberries (Syzygium luehmannii, Myrtaceae)
according to wikipedia: also known as riberry, small leaved lilly pilly, cherry satinash, cherry alder,
or clove lilli pilli, is a tree species pesaendemic to Australian riverine, littoral & subtropical rainforest. It's grown for its small pear-shaped fruits known as
The tree can grow to 30 metres in height
in the rainforest, but commonly only reaches 7 metres in cultivation. The small, glossy, lance-shaped leaves are pink/red
when they're young. A cream colored flower is followed by bunches of pink to red pear-shaped berries about 13 mm long.
The berry has a tart, cranberry-like flavor,
that has a hint of cloves. It's been popular as a gourmet bushfood since the early 1980’s & is commercially cultivated on a small-scale basis.
The fruit is most commonly used to make a distinctively flavoured jam & is also used in sauces, syrups & confectionery. The
riberry plant is also very popular as a garden ornamental & street tree. It's easily maintained as a smaller tree by light
- brush cherry (Syzygium australe, Myrtaceae)
according to wikipedia: also known by the common names magenta cherry, scrub cherry &
magenta lillypilly, is a dense bushy rainforest tree native to Australia.
- muntries (Kunzea pomifera F.
Muell., Myrtaceae) according to wikipedia: also known as emu apples, native cranberries, munthari, muntaberry or monterry- are low-growing plants found
along the southern coast of Australia. The berries produced by these plants are about 1 cm in diameter, green with a tinge
of red at maturity & have a flavour of a spicy apple.
- Illawarra plum (Podocarpus
elatus R. Br. ex Endl. Podocarpaceae)
- Burdekin plum (Pleiogynium
timorense DC. Leenh, Anacardiaceae)
- Cedar Bay cherry (Eugenia
carissoides F. Muell., Myrtaceae)
- Davidson's plum (Davidsonia
pruriens F. Muell. var. pruriens, Davidsoniaceae)
- Molucca raspberry (Rubus moluccanus var.
austropacificus van Royen, Rosaceae)
- Finger lime (yellow & red, Microcitrus
- Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana,
- Tasmanian Pepper (Tasmanian lanceolata R. Br., Winteraceae)
Source: Innovative Food Science
& Emerging Technologies (Elsevier)
Published on-line ahead of print: doi: 0.1016/j.ifset.2007.03.007
"Native Australian fruits - a novel source of antioxidants for food"
Authors: M. Netzela,
G. Netzela, Q. Tianb, S. Schwartzc and I. Konczak
By Crystal Phend, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
April 20, 2007
BOSTON, April 20 The low-sodium
diet may have been validated as a direct route to prevention of heart disease, according to investigators here.
The connection between a low-sodium diet & prevention of heart disease has been long suspected but never nailed down.
patients who reduced salt intake 25% to 35% had 25% to 30% less cardiovascular event risk
over the subsequent 10 to 15 years, reported Nancy R. Cook, Sc.D., of Brigham & Women's Hospital here & colleagues
online in the BMJ.
"Results of our follow-up
study reinforce recommendations to lower dietary sodium intake as a means of preventing
cardiovascular disease in the general population," they wrote & "should dispel any residual concern that sodium reduction
might be harmful."
for salt reduction have relied primarily on clinical trial evidence of blood pressure reduction.
Few observational studies & only limited & inconclusive trial data existed on cardiovascular outcomes.
Because of this, some had
suggested that a low-salt diet could actually have an adverse effect on the heart, said
Jeffrey Cutler, M.D., project director of the studies for the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute & a co-author
on the paper.
To conclusively answer such
questions, the researchers followed 2,415 patients from 2 earlier salt-reduction studies,
phase I & II of the Trial of Hypertension Prevention.
The first tested a variety
of lifestyle interventions over 18 months. The follow-up study included only the 417 usual-care control group participants
& 327 randomized to a sodium reduction intervention consisting of dietary & behavioral
The 2nd trial tested the effects
of weight loss & sodium reduction over a 3 to 4 year period. It randomized 1,191 to
usual care with or without weight loss intervention & the same number to a sodium reduction intervention similar to that
in the first trial with or without weight loss intervention.
Both trials originally enrolled
patients ages 30 to 54 with high-normal blood pressure defined as mean diastolic blood pressure 80 to 89 mm Hg in one &
83 to 89 mm Hg diastolic & less than 140 mm Hg systolic in the other.
Participants weren't taking
originally found small but significant blood pressure effects from sodium reduction.
The observational follow-up
study began about 10 years after the first & 5 years of the 2nd study ended & lasted for about 4 years. Patients were
sent questionnaires or reached by telephone to determine all cardiovascular events occurring after the end of the trials.
Additional questionnaires were sent to responders every 2 years.
The primary outcome
measure of cardiovascular disease included myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary artery bypass graft, percutaneous transluminal
coronary angioplasty & death with a cardiovascular cause.
Among the 2,415 total participants
with follow-up outcome information obtained (77%), the findings were:
- A 25% reduction in risk of cardiovascular
disease among sodium reduction groups vs controls after adjustment for clinic site, demographics & randomization
to weight-loss intervention (relative risk 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.57 to 0.99, P=0.04).
- A 30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease
with sodium reduction after additional adjustment for baseline weight & sodium excretion (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.94,
- Attenuation of the effect of sodium reduction with
further adjustment for weight change during the trials (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.01, P=0.06).
- A similar but nonsignificant benefit of salt reduction excluding
revascularization events (RR 0.72, 0.50 to 1.03, P=0.07).
"That's about what one might
expect from a moderate dose of a statin," Dr. Cutler said.
Mortality showed an effect
in the same direction, though the study wasn't powered to show a difference in mortality, particularly in this group of patients
at relatively low risk of death, Dr. Cutler said.
In a full intent-to-treat
analysis of 3,126 participants with mortality data, the sodium intervention groups had 20% lower mortality risk (35 vs 42
deaths, RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.51 to 1.26, P=0.34).
mortality was likewise lower with sodium reduction (10 vs 15 deaths, RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.40, P=0.25).
Responses on the
final questionnaire of the follow-up study also suggested that the original sodium-reduction interventions were effective
long-term. Patients who reported a cardiovascular disease diagnosis were excluded from this analysis to reduce bias.
For the intervention group compared with controls, these results
- Significantly more reported liking low-sodium or unsalted foods
(71% vs 64%, P=0.003).
- Significantly more reported usually or always using low sodium
products (47% vs 29%, P<0.001).
- Significantly more reported reading food labels for sodium
content (66% vs 44%, P<0.001).
- Significantly more reported keeping track of their daily sodium
intake at least sometimes (28% vs 20%, P<0.001).
"Despite its relatively small
size as a trial of clinical outcomes, it provides some of the strongest objective evidence to date that lowering sodium intake,
even among those without hypertension, reduces the risk of future cardiovascular disease," the researchers concluded.
While the Trial of Hypertension
Prevention interventions were fairly intense - individual & weekly group counseling sessions for the first 3 months &
less frequently thereafter - to achieve a 25% to 35% reduction in dietary salt, even greater reductions are now being recommended.
The American Heart Association
recommends a daily salt intake below 2,300 mg for most people & the American Public Health Association has called for
a 50% reduction in sodium in processed & restaurant foods.
Many patients would require
help from a dietitian to achieve these goals, but an even greater effect than seen in the trial could be expected, Dr. Cutler said.
Can Salt Make You Fat?
Posted by Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief on Tue, May 15, 2007, 8:18 am PDT
I confess: I'm a saltaholic.
I even salt my bread! Whether you're watching "American Idol" at home on your couch or the latest action flick at the multiplex,
it's easy to snack on salty, crunchy nibbles straight through the credits.
In fact, the average person's
salt intake has increased 55% in the past 20 years! Here's a little trick that may help you avoid gobbling an entire tub of
popcorn in a blink: Go easy on the salt, or skip it altogether.
Just say no to that sodium
urge. Why? Turns out that salting your popcorn may lead you to eat more of the fluffy stuff. Snackers in one study
were given bowls of popcorn with either no salt, 1/2 teaspoon salt or one entire teaspoon of salt. And guess which ones
consumed the most? That's right, the group that had the saltiest serving.
that salty food can also make you thirsty, which researchers say could have you reaching for sugary sodas & juices.
It's no coincidence
that consumption of carbonated drinks has also soared by 135% in the past 20 years, adding about 278 calories a day to our
Translation: That's like hitting
the vending machine for an extra candy bar daily! If you're trying to lose weight, or just keep the pounds off, opt for
the unsalted versions of treats such as popcorn, nuts & crackers - & sip water instead of cola.
source: Yahoo Health
No More Bad
By Carol Krucoff
Forget the notion of an "ideal
weight." Don't follow a restrictive diet that considers some foods "good" & others "bad." Because all too often, these
traditional approaches to battling the bulge fail.
"Americans spend more than
$33 billion per year on weight control products & services," says the American Dietetic Association (ADA), "yet these
efforts seem to have no effect on slowing the increasing prevalence of obesity."
1 in 3
adults & 1 in 4 children in the United States are obese & obesity-related medical
conditions are the 2nd leading cause of death in America, after smoking-related illness.
That's why the nation's largest
group of nutrition professionals is now advising people to stop focusing on weight loss alone.
Instead, they recommend working
toward "weight management," which they define as "achieving the best weight possible in the context of overall health."
Hung Up On The Numbers
"Too many people get hung
up on reaching a number on a height / weight chart that for them, genetically & physiologically, may be unattainable,"
says ADA spokeswoman Josephine Connolly, a nutritionist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Inability to achieve these
unrealistic goals can be physically & psychologically damaging, she says, since discouraged people often abandon healthy
habits & consider themselves "failures."
That's why the ADA has "redefined
success," Connolly says, "by encouraging people to focus on behaviors they can control rather than on weight loss, which they
may not be able to directly control."
These behaviors, which ADA
recommends for all weight management programs, include:
- Gradual change to a more healthful eating style with (proportional) increased intake of whole grains, fruits & veggies
- A nonrestrictive approach to eating based on eating when hungry
& stopping when full.
- Gradual increase to at least 30 minutes of enjoyable physical
activity each day.
In addition, Connolly says,
"we're encouraging the notion of a healthy weight, which someone can achieve & maintain, as opposed to a cosmetic weight
or ideal weight on a standardized chart."
Each person's healthy weight
is determined individually, she says, based on his or her weight history & current medical condition including blood pressure,
cholesterol profile & glucose tolerance.
Even modest weight losses,
such as dropping 10 to 16 pounds, can dramatically improve these health parameters, Connolly notes:
Take it slow!
Rather than "racing to a goal
weight for one day, then gaining the weight back," Connolly says, "it's better to lose a modest amount, then maintain it for
3 to 6 months before you try to lose any more. It's a great confidence builder. Plus, some research indicates this can help
your body adjust its metabolic rate."
ADA also stresses the importance
of daily physical activity - at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day.
"Exercise is the single most
powerful tool for weight control," says ADA spokeswoman Kathleen Zelman, a registered dietitian in Atlanta.
"We're encouraging people
to pick an activity they enjoy, like gardening or walking, because we know that if people consider exercise a chore, it's
not going to happen."
"pleasure principle" also applies to food choices.
"All foods can fit," she says.
"What you love, you can have in moderation. But we also want to teach people to love healthy foods like broccoli, with lemon
instead of butter & plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables & whole grains."
The basic message is "an attitude
change," sums up ADA spokeswoman Leslie Bonci, a nutritionist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
"We're taking a more positive
& realistic approach that encourages people to adopt healthy eating & exercises practices they can sustain & enjoy
for their lifetime," says Bonci.
"And we're recognizing that how you feel & how much energy you have can be just as important a measure of success as a number on a scale."
Send me an e-mail!
Better Safe Than Sorry
By being a smart shopper & taking some precautions in the kitchen, you can lower your family's
risk of getting sick
By Nancy Shute
Andrew Stout's farm in Carnation,
Wash., is one of the most successful small organic farms in the country. Each week, Full Circle Farm delivers fresh lettuce,
green peas, spring garlic & spinach to 17 farmers' markets in the Seattle area, as well as to dozens of restaurants &
retailers, including Whole Foods Market.
Some 2,400 boxes of produce
a week go out to families who have bought a share in the farm's riches. His customers are counting on getting freshness
& taste & also on Stout's care when it comes to hygiene.
"Bacteria exists everywhere,"
he says. So he keeps the manure pile away from the packing shed, tests the water used to irrigate & wash vegetables &
keeps an eye on his workers to be sure they wash their hands.
"I'm a food provider,"
he says. "You want to do the absolute best that you can."
If you stand baked potatoes on end in a muffin pan, they'll bake faster.
The rapidly growing passion
for locally grown produce from farmers like Stout & his wife, Wendy Munroe, is one sign of just how nervous Americans
have become about the state of food on their plate.
Little wonder, given recent
headlines: melamine dumped in pet food & fed to millions of chickens & pigs; E. coli bacteria killing people who eat
spinach; salmonella in peanut butter from Georgia & just last week, E. coli-contaminated beef in 15 states.
Each year, 76 million Americans
get sick from food; more than 300,000 end up in the hospital & 5,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control
Confidence in the safety
of supermarket food has reached an 18-year low, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
Lately, the melamine scandal
has left shoppers wondering whether imported foods can be trusted-a legitimate concern, given that many countries have less-than-sterling
safety records & an increasing percentage of what Americans eat comes from overseas.
Clearly, the oversight system
has big gaps. The Food & Drug Administration is responsible for monitoring 80% of the food supply (everything but meat,
which the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture oversees), but the food inspection program has been underfunded for years & the agency
has little enforcement capability beyond asking companies for voluntary recalls.
It's able to inspect less
than 1% of the $60 billion of food imported each year.
homegrown food safe, too, requires diligence, from the field thru the processing shed & factory, all the way to the supermarket.
Farmers are legally bound to produce food that doesn't pose a health risk; so are manufacturers & retailers.
uses its own labs to test food samples for microbes & hires third-party auditors to inspect suppliers' farms & factories.
Whole Foods, which increasingly looks abroad for its organic products, requires growers to shun pesticides allowed in their
countries but not here.
But with little
oversight, human error or expediency can cause disease & death. "Our food-safety system is
broken," former FDA Commissioner David Kessler told a congressional hearing this month.
the USDA declared that 56,000 pigs fed melamine-tainted feed are safe for human consumption.
So what's a hungry consumer to do?
"If you want 100% safety, you have to stop eating. You really do," says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York
University & author of What to Eat.
"Unless you're growing
your own food & you know the quality of your soil & you know what the animals are eating, you can't be 100%
safe." Nestle & other food-safety experts would advocate giving the FDA the authority to require food recalls & enough
funding to do more inspections.
Last month, David Acheson,
a longtime food-safety official at the FDA, was named the agency's new "food czar,"charged with overhauling the food-safety
system. "We're constantly in a situation where, gee, we've got people sick & we've got to get this food off the market,"
"What we've got to do as an
agency is push that back into prevention." That, clearly, is a long-term project. In the meantime, consumers can make choices
that reduce their family's risk.
Self-Defense In The Kitchen
The best defense against food-borne
illness, experts say, is mounted at the end of the food chain: the kitchen counter. "The
biggest proactive thing you can do, whether you buy organic or conventional food, is wash it & wash your hands," says
The FDA recommends that all
produce-organic or not, homegrown or imported-be washed under running water just before it's eaten. Even fruit that will be
peeled should be washed, since bacteria from the skin can contaminate the inside during cutting. Firm produce, like melons
& cucumbers, should be scrubbed with a clean brush. Drying produce with a clean towel or paper towel may also help remove
Food should be refrigerated
at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep nasty bugs from proliferating-a refrigerator thermometer is an essential tool. Produce should
be kept separate from uncooked meat, poultry, fish & eggs; almost all domestic chickens, i.e., are contaminated with campylobacter
bacteria, which causes diarrhea. Cutting boards & other food-prep tools need to be washed with hot soapy water or a diluted
bleach solution, especially after they've been used to prepare raw meat.
Salad lovers may lament, but
you can't beat cooking food as a way to kill nasty bacteria. That's why milk is pasteurized; it's also why the Dept. of Agriculture
recommends that hamburgers be cooked to 160 degrees, well past pink. Frozen foods are usually cooked in the processing, which
makes frozen spinach, raspberries & strawberries-all nearly impossible to wash thoroughly - a safer bet than fresh.
The Benefit Of Buying
In search of safety, many
people turn to organic fruits & vegetables, presuming that they're less apt to carry pathogens like E. coli than nonorganic
produce. That belief has fueled a boom in organic foods at stores as diverse as Whole Foods & Wal-Mart, as well as at
regular supermarkets, which now offer organic house brands. Sales of organic food have been growing by 15% a year for the
past decade, spiking upward after each publicized food contamination incident.
The good news: Organic produce
does carry less pesticide & herbicide residue than conventionally grown crops. And under federal law, organic milk, meat
& produce can't contain added growth hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms. But organic produce &
meat can just as easily be contaminated with bacteria, heavy metals, or other pathogens that pose significant health risks.
A recent study found that organic chickens were just as likely as their regular brethren to be contaminated with campylobacter;
some organic birds had more bacteria. And the California spinach contaminated by E. coli last year had been grown using organic
Is Local Better?
The new push to buy locally
grown food is spurred partly by an interest in supporting environmentally friendly practices that would reduce global warming;
food is shipped 1,500 miles on average in the United States, burning fossil fuels & adding shipping costs along the way.
But a bigger,
if less often expressed, motivation is the belief that domestically grown food is inherently safer than stuff from foreign
lands. In a 2002 study, researchers at Colorado State University found that consumers were willing to pay a 19% premium for
steak labeled: "Guaranteed USA: Born & Raised in the U.S."
Anyone who has traveled
in developing countries knows that sanitation standards for food & water are often much less reliable than in this country;
people here rarely have to boil water to safely drink it. The same holds true for agriculture: In many countries, human waste
is often the only fertilizer available & pesticides that have been banned in the United States for decades are still used.
incident, in which Chinese manufacturers adulterated wheat flour with a cheap substance that masquerades as protein,
showed only too well how weak links in a global food chain can be exploited by careless or unscrupulous vendors. Given all
that, buying from local sources has grown ever more attractive. Proponents count on the people close to home to hold to standards
"Mainly for me, it's knowing
the grower & knowing how they grow the food I'm buying," says Gail Feemstra, a food systems analyst with the University
of California-Davis. After the spinach scare, she says, "I went right to the farmers' market & said, 'Give me a big bag
of spinach.'" She knew that the spinach she was buying was grown far from the Central California fields implicated in the
E. coli outbreak.
Beyond the likelihood of getting
some quality control, people buying local food may avoid some risks of microbial contamination because the food isn't processed
in large facilities that mix products from many farms. But there's still no guarantee; E. coli could easily contaminate a
spinach patch down the street.
Still, farmers' markets have
thrived in recent years, supported by rising consumer demand & by state & federal programs designed to help small
farmers get their products to market. There are now 4,000 farmers' markets in the United States. Some supermarkets offer a
limited selection of locally grown foods in season.
And community-supported agriculture
programs, in which farmers like Andrew Stout sell shares in their yearly output, provide a two-sided guarantee. Farmers have
a guaranteed market & consumers know that each week they'll get a box of fresh veggies, fruit, or eggs, often delivered
right to their doorstep. (CSA's in your area can be found at www.localharvest.org/csa.)
One of Stout's members, Sage
Van Wing, 29, created a website when she lived in the San Francisco area, challenging others to eat food grown within 100
miles of home for a month. In the first month, 800 people signed on to the locavores.com challenge.
The list has now grown to
2,000 from around the world. Being a locavore wasn't as easy as Van Wing expected; she couldn't find local sources for salt,
spices, or bread. Avocados were hard to come by, too. (Exceptions, she decided, are just
Not labeled. Eating
local, or even domestic, is complicated by the fact that most supermarket foods aren't labeled by source. For years, consumer
groups & domestic producers have battled for federal legislation to make country-of-origin labeling required for all imported
But those requirements
have been applied only for seafood. Even if there were universal labeling, most consumers don't have time to bone up on the
differences in agricultural practices from country to country so as to make labels of much use.
The bottom line: Consumers
can take steps to protect themselves, but they can't do it all on their own. "Everybody ought to be screaming bloody murder
on the lack of oversight of the food supply & talk to their government representatives," says Nestle.
"I'd like company X & Y to say, all of this food is safe because we do X & Y," he says. Consumers are now pushing
for more information about the safety of the food they eat. "And that's a good thing."
Meanwhile, Stout's reach continues
to grow. Demand for the CSA's products is now at the point where it's economically feasible to fly his veggies to 2,000 produce-hungry
customers in Alaska, offering practically same-day service. "We are kind of local for southeast Alaska, where there are no
farms whatsoever," Stout says. "This is as close as it gets."
With Sarah Baldauf and Adam Voiland
Source: US News & World Report
Study Shows Healthy Intentions Often Go by the Wayside
Citrus Juice Gives Boost to Green Tea Antioxidants
The combo may help your
body better absorb the healthy compounds, study suggests
TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adding citrus juices or
vitamin C to green tea may raise its antioxidant goodness, a new study suggests.
The antioxidants in question are called catechins, believed
to be responsible for some of green tea's reported health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cancer, heart attack and
"Although these results are preliminary, I think it's encouraging
that a big part of the puzzle comes down to simple chemistry," lead author Mario Ferruzzi, assistant professor of food science
at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a prepared statement.
Using a laboratory model that simulates digestion in the stomach
and small intestine, Ferruzzi tested green tea with a number of additives, including juices and creamers.
He found that citrus juice increased recoverable (absorbable)
catechin levels by more than five times, while vitamin C (ascorbic acid) boosted recoverable levels of the two most abundant
catechins by six and 13 times.
The findings were published in the journal Molecular Nutrition
and Food Research.
Citrus juices and vitamin C may interact with catechins to prevent
degradation in the intestines, Ferruzzi said.
"If you want more out of your green tea, add some citrus juices
to your cup after brewing or pick a ready-to-drink product formulated with ascorbic acid," he suggested.
Ferruzzi is currently conducting a study examining whether citrus
juices and vitamin C increase catechin absorption in lab animals.
source: click here
Definition of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a group of vitamins including vitamin C,
vitamin E, selenium & carotenoids, (such as beta-carotene, lycopene & lutein).
Description of Antioxidants
Can eating a diet
rich in the antioxidant vitamins reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease or cataracts?
Some scientists say "yes."
although this is an area that's likely to be controversial for some time to come. Oxygen damage (oxidation)
to your cells may be partly responsible for the effects of aging & certain diseases.
Researchers are studying
how antioxidants in food may protect against this damage.
As part of their normal function,
cells make toxic molecules, called free radicals. A free radical is a damaged molecule - it's missing an electron. Because
the free-radical molecule "wants" its full complement of electrons, it reacts with any molecule from which it can take an
By taking an electron from
certain key components in the cell, such as fat, protein or DNA molecules, free radicals damage cells. Antioxidants that occur
naturally in the body & certain foods may block this damage by donating electrons to stabilize & neutralize the harmful
effects of the free radicals.
Even though most free radical
damage is repaired, a fraction may still remain. The environment is also a source of free radicals caused by ultraviolet radiation
or airborne pollutants, such as cigarette smoke.
Eventually, free radical damage
may overwhelm the body's natural defenses. As cell damage accumulates, it may contribute to aging & certain diseases like
cardiovascular disease & some cancers. More antioxidant vitamins from one's diet may help counter some of the damage.
Research designed to study
free radicals has shown a relationship to a number of diseases.
Scientists theorize that low-density
lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol damages the lining of the arteries when it becomes oxidized. Vitamin C, vitamin E & carotenoids
may help protect against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by neutralizing free radicals.
Scientists suspect that cataracts
develop partly as a result of oxidation of proteins in the lens of the eye & some studies have shown that antioxidants
might be effective in reducing age-related macular degeneration & the resulting vision loss.
Evidence from more than a
hundred studies suggests that eating fruits & vegetables rich in vitamin C or carotenoids is linked with a reduced risk
of many cancers. Despite the support for the health benefits of vitamin C, vitamin E & carotenoids, there are good reasons
for not taking large supplemental doses:
- There's no proof of benefit. The evidence for using antioxidant
vitamins to lower the risk of chronic disease is preliminary. The AHA still doesn't recommend using antioxidant supplements
until there's more complete data.
They do, however, recommend eating a daily diet that contains
a variety of foods from all the basic food groups (& low in saturated fat & cholesterol)
which will provide a rich natural source of these vitamins.
- Nobody knows the right dose & researchers don't know which
antioxidant, or combination of antioxidants, offers the greatest potential to prevent disease.
- Nobody knows the long-term risks. Generally, vitamin C, vitamin
E & carotenoids aren't toxic, yet controlled studies in people typically last less than 6 months.
source: click here