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Antioxidant Powerhouses

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Blackberries, grape juice from Concord grapes, walnuts, strawberries, and artichokes top the list of antioxidant powerhouses

CONCORD, Mass., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A newly published study provides a listing of the total concentration of antioxidants for more than 1,000 foods and beverages commonly consumed in the U.S. Ranking the items by antioxidant concentration per serving size, the five foods and beverages with highest antioxidant levels were blackberries (1 cup), Welch's 100% Grape Juice (8 ounces), Ocean Mist artichoke hearts (1 cup), walnuts (1 ounce) and strawberries (1 cup sliced). These items ranked higher than blueberries, red wine, chocolate, coffee and tea -- often touted for their high antioxidant capacity.

Researchers from the University of Oslo, Norway, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the University of Minnesota used the FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) assay method to measure and compile this expanded listing of total concentration of antioxidants for 1113 foods and beverages. The study, which appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted independently of any industry sponsors. Food samples were obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program.

"Antioxidants are bioactive compounds in foods that play an active role in the human body. By quenching free radicals they help maintain oxidative balance and contribute to good health," explained nutrition consultant Carla McGill, PhD, RD. "Many high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables can be identified by their deep, dark coloring. In fact, researchers in this study found that blackberries and Welch's Grape Juice had the highest antioxidant contents per serving of all the foods measured."

The researchers quantified the antioxidant concentration of the foods by measuring the antioxidant concentration per typical serving size. For juices this was an 8 ounce serving. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, which is made from antioxidant-rich Concord grapes, had the highest antioxidant concentration of all juices with 4.089 mmol/serving, and ranked #2 over all the foods tested, whereas the average antioxidant content for all grape juices tested was much lower at 2.557 mmol/serving.

Recently, consumers have begun incorporating antioxidant rich foods into their diets to decrease risk for disease and to delay the onset of many age-related conditions. In fact, according to the Institute of Food Technologists, sales of products carrying an antioxidant claim jumped nearly 20 percent last year. One of every four consumers says they eat fruits or vegetables to prevent disease, one in three eats them to feel healthy, and nearly nine of ten eat them to stay healthy. This present study provides consumers with a guide to help decide what foods and beverages to include in the diet to maximize antioxidant consumption.

Source:

Halvorsen, B.L., Carlsen, M.H., Phillips, K.M., et al., "Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006; 84:95-135.

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Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition