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Fruits and vegetables can help by neutralizing the free radicals

No matter how pleasant a meal is, eating causes what's known as oxidative stress.

As we digest our food, we create sometimes-harmful molecules known as free radicals. But antioxidants—healthful compounds in fruits and vegetables—can help by neutralizing the free radicals.

That's yet another good reason to eat at least some antioxidant-rich foods at every meal, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Ronald L. Prior. To learn more about the effects of antioxidants on postprandial, or after-meal, oxidative stress, Prior and co-investigators collaborated in four clinical studies with healthy female volunteers.

The scientists found that the antioxidant capacity of volunteers' blood plasma samples declined after eating a test meal that lacked antioxidants. But the scientists also found, for the first time, that consuming grapes with that same test meal prevented the decline in plasma antioxidant capacity of the volunteers during the first two hours following the test meal—the time digestion is the most rapid. (SOURCE: Agricultural Research Service)

Photo: Fotolia

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