|Don't obsess about "optimal" antioxidant contents, just eat your veggies!|
That being said, the latest study from the Institute of Health and Environmental Medicine in Tianjin, China, opens another "anti-antioxidant" Box of Pandora. One that puts a huge questionmark behind the implications of hundreds of thousands of scientific studies, when it says in it's title, already: "No correlation is found for vegetables between antioxidant capacity and potential benefits in improving antioxidant function in aged rats"
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If the results of the study can be confirmed by an independent team for vegetables other than lotus root, rape or cucumber and if there is an identical mismatch between the in-vivo anti-oxidant capacity and the potential benefits in improving antioxidant function in (aged) humans.
This would be big and highly consequential news for nutrition experts, scientists and average Joes and Janes like you and me. Why? Well,...
- any ranking of "superfoods" that was based even partly on in vitro data derived with the good old ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay would be invalid, ...
- every scientist who has been following up on "promising" data from FRAP assays would have been wasting his time, ...
- and you may have been eating all the wrong foods for years...
|Figure 1: FRAP value, vitamin C and vitamin E content and total amount phenolics in the powdered vegetables that were added to the rodent diets in the study at hand (Ji. 2014)|
Never forget the three principles of veggie eating: Variety, seasonality, colorfulness
Against that background I'd recommend you keep eating your lotus roots, if you like them, although, they have a significantly lower beneficial effect on SuperOxide Dismutase (SOD, a group of antioxidant enzymes) than rape and cucumber.
|Figure 2: Serum markers of anti-oxidant status / oxidative damage after 6 weeks on the three experimental diets (Ji. 2014)|
- Ji, Linlin, et al. "No correlation is found for vegetables between antioxidant capacity and potential benefits in improving antioxidant function in aged rats." Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 54.3 (2014): 198-203.
- Levine, Rodney L. "Carbonyl modified proteins in cellular regulation, aging, and disease2, 3." Free Radical Biology and Medicine 32.9 (2002): 790-796.
- Valdez-Morales, Maribel, et al. "Phenolic content, and antioxidant and antimutagenic activities in tomato peel and seeds, and tomato by-products." Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2014). Accepted Manuscript.