Improving public health?: The role of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetable beverages

Peter Wootton-Beard, Lisa Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Recent evaluations of diet quality in the UK reveal that two thirds of people still do not consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Fruit and vegetables contain high concentrations of bioactive compounds
including antioxidants which may be beneficial to health. The precise nature of the health benefits which are to be gained from the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods is yet to be fully elucidated. There has been a visually evident increase in the number of beverages which use their antioxidant capacity as a marketing tool in recent years. This poses the question as to whether or not this is an entirely positive change. The aims of this review are to 1) summarise the current evidence supporting the health benefits of antioxidant-rich foods in CVD, cancer, neurological decline and diabetes, 2) summarise the antioxidant components of commonly consumed beverages, 3) investigate the emergence of new and novel beverage ingredients within the context of functional foods and 4) establish the potential role of antioxidant-rich beverages in human health. In conclusion, the evidence for specific health benefits which can be attributed to the antioxidant content of foods is still limited. However, antioxidant rich foods are most commonly from plant sources which contain a number of healthy components which make them a positive addition to the diet. Many compounds which display antioxidant activity (such as polyphenolic compounds) also have many other positive effects in the human system and therefore if consuming them on the basis of their antioxidant content increases consumption, then this can be viewed as a positive change in diet. Furthermore, the synergistic and interactive effects of antioxidant combinations from a mixed diet has not been adequately simulated in a research setting and the true nature of these interactions remains largely unknown
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3135-3148
Number of pages9
JournalFood Research International
Volume44
Issue number10
Early online date01 Oct 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • antioxidant
  • beverage
  • public health
  • fruit
  • vegetable
  • oxidative stress

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