Eating causes stress, but antioxidants can help

March 24th, 2008 - 3:14 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 24 (IANS) A pleasant meal may make our lives seem satisfying and worthwhile, but it has a flip side that is not so apparent. Eating also generates oxidative stress, basically caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals, according to a new study, findings of which have been reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

But there is help at hand. Anti-oxidants, the healthy compounds in fruits and vegetables, can help by neutralising the free radicals.

In a bid to know more about the effect of anti-oxidants on post-meal oxidative stress, researchers led by Ronald L. Prior of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) collaborated in four clinical studies with healthy female volunteers, reports ScienceDaily.

They found that the anti-oxidant capacity of volunteers’ blood plasma samples declined after eating a test meal that lacked anti-oxidants.

But the scientists also found that consuming grapes with that same test meal prevented the decline in plasma anti-oxidant capacity of the volunteers during the first two hours following the test meal - the time digestion is the most rapid.

Prior 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.

The experiments were part of a larger study that compared the ability of the human body to use the anti-oxidants in Bing cherries, dried plums, dried plum juice, kiwi fruit, red grapes, strawberries and wild blueberries.

Scientists used an ARS-developed method called ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, to evaluate the fruits’ antioxidant capacity.

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