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Alice Walker


Is Down Under the new Amazon for superfruits?
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.

Market 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.

Antioxidant & 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.

Netzela & co-workers report that the selected fruits are rich sources of antioxidants, with stronger radical scavenging activities than blueberries.
Indeed, 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," they wrote.

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 riberries.

    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 pruning.

  • 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 australasica, Rutaceae)

  • Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana, Combretaceae

  • 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

source: foodnavigator.com

special considerations in diet...
lower your salt intake for a healthier diet!

Low-Salt Diet Shakes Off Heart Disease
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.

Prehypertensive 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."

Recommendations 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 counseling.

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 antihypertensive medication.

lower your salt intake for a healthier diet!

Both found 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, P=0.02).
  • 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).

Cardiovascular disease-related 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 were:

  • 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.


lower your salt intake for a healthier diet!

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.

Plus, all 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 intake.

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 Scale Days
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

This "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."

from: foodfit.com!

The Greatest Thing About Apples

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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
Posted 5/20/07

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 & Prevention.

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.

Broken. Keeping 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.

Costco, i.e., 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.

Last week, 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," Acheson says.

"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 Stout.

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 lingering contamination.

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 Organic

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 methods.

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.

The melamine-contamination 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 like Stout's.

"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 fine.)

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 foods.

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.

Acheson agrees. "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

from WebMd!
Healthy vs. Junk Snacks: How We Choose
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 stroke.

"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 electron.

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

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