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Kiwifruit: Antioxidant Power in Quantity and Quality

Monday, July 7, 2008 General News J E 4
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SEATTLE, July 7 Not all fruits are created equal when itcomes to their antioxidant powers in the body: kiwifruit is among the highestin bioavailability compared to other antioxidant-rich fruits and berries in arecent small-scale study published in the Journal of the American College ofNutrition.

Antioxidants include vitamins and phytochemicals called flavonoids thatmay have the power to neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals,which may be linked to chronic disease and aging. Consumption and increasedabsorption of antioxidants may help prevent certain types of cancer, heartdisease and signs of aging. Antioxidant-dense foods, like kiwifruit, areincreasingly gaining popularity with consumers who look for health via naturaland functional foods in addition to medicine.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) ArkansasChildren's Nutrition Center in Little Rock performed a comparison studybetween kiwifruit, red grapes and strawberries which showed the antioxidantsin kiwifruit to be the most easily metabolized and absorbed into thebloodstream. Dr. Ronald Prior and his team measured the antioxidants in thebody by noting increases in blood antioxidant capacity and cells' increasedresistance to oxidative damage induced by hydrogen peroxide.

To test kiwifruit's antioxidant capacity, seven healthy women were giventwo servings of green Hayward kiwifruit (300g) per day. Blood samples weretaken from the participants after an overnight fast before fruit ingestion andat 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 hours after fruit ingestion. The results found thatkiwifruit provided for an antioxidant intake score of 12.5, as compared tograpes (4.2) and strawberries (1.7). Kiwifruit resulted in the mostsignificant increase in antioxidant metabolism and absorption.

While scientists may not yet know the exact mechanism that causes certainhigh-antioxidant fruits to perform better in the body than others, they doknow that antioxidants are paramount to good nutrition. As Dr. Prior assertsin USDA press materials, "We're learning that antioxidants should be consumedwith every meal, and if you routinely skip antioxidants in your diet, overtime, the excess number of free radicals being produced may begin damagingcellular components, ultimately leading to atherosclerosis, cancer, and otherdiseases."

Prior notes that volunteers' increased blood antioxidant capacity may, inpart, be attributed to the high vitamin C content of kiwifruit. While onecannot necessarily translate increased antioxidants in the bloodstream into apotential decreased risk of chronic degenerative disease without further long-term clinical studies, kiwifruit appears to be a strong antioxidant performer.

Beyond antioxidants, kiwifruit play an important role in daily nutrition.A two piece serving of either ZESPRI(TM) GREEN or ZESPRI(TM) GOLD kiwifruitprovides twice the vitamin C of an orange, as much potassium as a banana andas much fiber as many whole grain cereals (4 grams and 2 grams per servingrespectively). ZESPRI(TM) GREEN is fuzzy on the outside and tastes tangy andfresh, while ZESPRI(TM) GOLD has smooth skin and a tropical-sweet flavor.

ZESPRI International is the world's largest kiwifruit marketer, with over2,500 growers producing and exporting more than 100 million trays of kiwifruita year to over 60 countries. For more health information and easy summertimerecipes, please visit http://www.zesprikiwi.com.

SOURCE ZESPRI(TM) Kiwifruit
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