Antioxidants and the Stress of Eating

Sorry, we’re not talking about how to politely show your Aunt Mildred how much you appreciate her tomato jello mold. Research from the Agricultural Research Service suggests that eating antioxidant rich foods such as berries with each meal can neutralize the free radicals inevitably created by the oxidative stress of regular digestion.

As if you needed another reason to eat your fruits and veggies…

To learn more about the effects of antioxidants on postprandial, or after-meal, oxidative stress, Prior and co-investigators collaborated in four clinical studies with healthy female volunteers. The scientists found that the antioxidant capacity of volunteers’ blood plasma samples declined after eating a test meal that lacked antioxidants. But the scientists also found, for the first time, that consuming grapes with that same test meal prevented the decline in plasma antioxidant capacity of the volunteers during the first two hours following the test meal—the time digestion is the most rapid. Prior, based at the ARS-funded Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center in Little Rock, Ark., noted that omitting antioxidant-rich foods from meals could lead to cellular damage by free radicals. Such damage is thought to increase risk of atherosclerosis, cancer and other diseases.

via Science Daily

Scientists included this experiment in their ORAC research, a study that assessed the antioxidant capacity of a variety of fruits.

We love it when solutions are simple, and this one is no exception. Sure, we go on and on about the importance of antioxidants to combat every variety of physical and psychological stress, pollution, aging, etc. But it doesn’t get more “here and now” than including antioxidants to combat the stresses of eating itself. A little effort, in this case a cup of blueberries (or maybe a spinach salad and a glass of red wine), goes a long way.

Talk about neat; you could tie this one up with a bow. Now, if only dinner at Aunt Mildred’s house could be so simple.

Thoughts? Cheers? Sad stories about family-induced food stresses? Share them here – with a nice cup of antioxidant-rich tea.

greenapplegrenade Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

A Visual Guide to Antioxidants

16 Ultimate Super Foods

Modern Forager: Fruits/Vegetables and Antioxidants

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