Cheaper plums match pricier blueberries in nutrients, antioxidants

January 29th, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 29 (IANS) Plums are the rising new star in the food fashion business by the virtue of possessing high levels of healthy nutrients, according to scientists.They are likely to give the pricier blueberries “some stiff competition”, said Luis Cisneros, Texas AgriLife Research food scientist. “Stone fruits are super fruits with plums as emerging stars,” he added.

Far from fruit snobbery, the plum is being ushered in after Cisneros and David Byrne, AgriLife Research plant breeder, judged more than 100 varieties of plums, peaches and nectarines and found them to match or exceed the much-touted blueberries in antioxidants and phytonutrients associated with disease prevention.

The duo acknowledge that blueberries remain a good nutritional choice. But Byrne said their findings are plum good news, especially in tight economic times, because one relatively inexpensive plum contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of more expensive blueberries.

“People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time - a few on the cereal or as an ingredient mixed with lots of sugar,” Cisneros said. “But people will eat a whole plum at once and get the full benefit.”

The first comparison was for antioxidants, molecules that sweep through a body looking for free radicals to knock out. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that lurk where diseases like cancer and heart disease are found, said an AgriLife release.

“If the radicals aren’t taken care of,” Cisneros said, “they will cause the problems that lead to disease.”

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