A new study has found that the peels of fruits and vegetables, which are thrown away as wastes are best source of potent antioxidants. So it's better to have a second thought next time, when you want to throw away those peels that fights against aging and keeps you young.
As reported in foodconsumer.org the sales of functional foods containing antioxidants have soared in the United States to $2.7 billion in 2003. Top of the pops are vitamins C and E, soy isoflavones, estrogen-like substances under study in the prevention of cancer, and catechins, tannins peculiar to green tea that stick to proteins, blocking bacteria from adhering to cell walls and disrupting their ability to destroy them.
Scientists studied residues from apples, strawberries, pears and red beets used in juice production. They also examined waste from tomatoes, artichokes and asparagus used in canning, along with the remains from harvesting broccoli, cucumber, chicory and endive.
All these, along with extracts of woad and golden rod herb, yielded polyphenols, a chemical that could protect against some effects of aging and damage caused by free radicals.
Of course extracting the high water content from fresh produce doesn't come cheap. In fact, extraction methods, even if they take place straightaway and close to the production site, as recommended by the scientists for cost-saving purposes, are so expensive that it isn't worth doing to red beet, asparagus or that poor woad.
In fact, it seems as though functional ingredients extracted from some fresh produce may not be able to compete economically with commercially available synthetic antioxidants.