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October 14, 2009 • Healthy Living

Healthy Just Got Healthier

  Antioxidants create biochemical bliss at the cellular level – readily neutralizing those rogue, destructive molecules called free radicals that are constantly generated within our cells.  Plant foods have always been the ideal place to get them and thanks to two new investigations, we should all be even more reassured that we are doing our antioxidant duty when enjoying our fruits and whole grains.  Working at England’s Institute of Food Research, scientists analyzed apples, peaches, and nectarines for “total” polyphenol content (polyphenols are a large class of antioxidant phytochemicals) versus “extractable” polyphenols (the standard method of analysis). Low and behold – they discovered the fruits contained up to 5 times more of these life-preserving compounds than previously reported (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, July 09).  In the second report, scientists performed another first-of-its-kind evaluation and found that many popular whole grain breakfast cereals, and even whole grain snack foods provide “surprisingly large” amounts of antioxidant polyphenols – gram for gram, levels comparable to those in fruits and veggies!  Of the whole grain snack foods tested, popcorn came out on top. For cereals, those made from wheat were the antioxidant winners followed by corn, oats, and then rice.