Orange juice ten times healthier than previously stated

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A new method which has been developed by researchers at the University of Granada to determine the antioxidant levels of food has indicated that orange juice is ten times more beneficial than previously believed.

This study places focus on the requirement to rewrite the tables on the antioxidant properties related to food products.

This new lab technique has indicated that orange, lemon, grapefruit and mandarin juices are far more beneficial than previously stated. An example of this is that in the case of orange juice, the value increased from its previous 2.3 mmol Trolox/L (number of units of antioxidant capacity), to 23 mmol Trolox/L, when tested with the new GAR technique.

A professor based at the University of Granada, José Ángel Rufián Henares, said the antioxidant activity is an average of ten times higher than previously thought, and this does not only apply to juices, but other types of food which have been analysed with the use of this new technique.

During traditional calculation methods a simulation was used to analyse only the liquid proportion of what we consume. It calculated the antioxidant capacity only of the substances that could be absorbed into the small intestine.

However, the new study indicates that there is antioxidant activity in the fibre (solid part) which is not measured.

It has shown that the large intestinal microbiota can extract additional antioxidants from this insoluble amount, which the new methodology is able to measure.

The technique has been named ‘global antioxidant response’ (GAR). It includes an in vitro simulation of the gastrointestinal digestion process which takes place in the body, whilst accounting for the ‘forgotten’ antioxidant level of the solid portion.

Antioxidants are natural or man-made substances which could delay or prevent some forms of cell damage. It is present in different types of foods, including vegetables and fruit.

The three main antioxidant vitamins include vitamins C & E, and beta-carotene. These can be found in colourful vegetables and fruits, particularly those with yellow, orange, red, blue and purple hues.

The incidence of antioxidants being added to flavoured water and other products has increased, but studies have shown that caution should be taken as it may not be fix everything.

The best way to handle this is with moderation.

Image Credit: Lisa Risager

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