Antioxidant content of many foods undervalued

Spanish scientists using a new process believe there’s ten times more antioxidants in foods like orange juice than previously believed.

Orange, and other citrus juices, are even healthier than we thought –way healthier, according to new research. Spanish scientists completed a study that suggests the antioxidant content of some citrus juices may be up to ten times greater than previously believed.

The study appeared in the journal Food Chemistry and was noted on

The scientists discovered a “forgotten” load of healthy antioxidants when they simulated our large intestine’s digestion in the lab with a nifty new process called global antioxidant response, or GAR. Previously, researchers only included antioxidants found while investigating what the small intestine can do to pull nutrients from the juice.

José Ángel Rufián Henares, professor at the University of Granada, explained in a story on SINC, the Information and Scientific News Service in Spanish. “The problem is that the antioxidant activity of the solid fraction (the fibre) isn’t measured, as it’s assumed that it isn’t beneficial.

However, this insoluble fraction arrives at the large intestine and the intestinal microbiota can also ferment it and extract even more antioxidant substances, which we can assess with our new methodology.”

When the researchers applied the new technology to commercial and natural orange, mandarin and grapefruit juices they found far more antioxidants than expected. “The antioxidant activity is, on average, ten times higher than that which everyone thought up until now, and not just in juices, but also in any other kind of food analyzed with this methodology,” said Henares. “This technique and the results derived from it could allow dieticians and health authorities to better establish the values of the antioxidant capacity of foods,” he said.

This is great news for women who enjoy bacon with their OJ-accompanied breakfast. A recent study suggested antioxidants may shield women against the increased risk of breast cancer linked to eating processed meat.

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