Fruits, berries and vegetables contain various phytochemicals with different bioactivities such as antioxidants activity.
Fruits and berries are good sources of antioxidants, including, carotenoids, ascorbic acid, tocopherols, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
The main antioxidants in fruits are vitamin C or ascorbic acid, which is colorless and the carotenoid and flavonoids families of antioxidants that provide fruits with their orange, yellow, pink, red and purple colors.
Red, blue, and purple fruits (such as apple, blackberry, blueberry, blood orange, cranberry, grape, nectarine, peach, plum, prune, pomegranate, raspberry, and strawberry) are good sources of flavonoids and other phenolic compounds. They are positively correlated with antioxidant capacity of the fruit.
These anthocyanins inhibit cholesterol synthesis theses fruits provide protection against heart disease.
Orange-flesh fruits (such as apricot, cantaloupe, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, persimmon and pineapple) and some red flesh fruits (such as tomato, watermelon and pink grapefruit) are good sources of carotenoids.
Carotenoids are known to enhance immune function. Persons with high blood levels of carotenoids have a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
The vitamin E content of fruits is generally low, but seeds and nuts have high vitamin E content.
Fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the daily diet have been strongly associated with reduced risk for some forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other chronic disease. This is attributed, in part, to their content of antioxidant phytochemicals.
A study at the Harvard School of Public Health done in 1995 on 48,000 men for 4 years reported that men who ate 10 or more servings of tomato products per week had up to 34% less chance to develop prostate cancer.
They showed that lycopene intake from tomato based products is related to a low risk of prostate cancer.
Food processing of fruits and berries into juices and jams, and drying of fruits generally result in lower amounts of antioxidants compounds.
For example, losses of anthocyanins in juices and purees of strawberries, strawberry and blackcurrant syrups, cranberry juice, raspberry juice and wine.
Antioxidants content in fruits
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