Does Pomegranate Have More Antioxidants Than Other Fruit Juices?
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Antioxidants are all the rage nowadays, and for good reason. Antioxidants are are abundantly found in the skin of dark coloured foods such as pomegranate, blueberries, goji berries, cacao, and many other fruits and vegetables.
An antioxidant is defined as “a substance in food that signiﬁcantly decreases the adverse effects of reactive species, such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, on normal physiological function in humans.”
In plain English, an antioxidant defends the body against harmful free radicals!
Because of the mass appeal for antioxidants, many companies have marketed various ready-to-drink juices as being “the best source” of antioxidants that money can buy. It is therefore of great interest to the general public to know the antioxidant capacity of the beverages that they consume.
Just how antioxidant-rich are these juices? And how do they compare with fresh-pressed juices?
To help answer this question, a recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry compared the antioxidant status of 12 brand name ready-to-drink juices.
However, it should be cautioned that because of the inherent complexity of food matrices, the use of a single antioxidant capacity method (used in many other studies) to determine antioxidant potency is ineffective. This is because antioxidants respond to different reactive species in different tests, which is partially attributed to multiple reaction mechanisms and reaction phases.
Instead, for better accuracy, the current study used 4 separate tests to measure antioxidant potency.
The study’s main aim was to measure the antioxidant potency of pomegranate juice versus several brands of apple juice, açaí juice, black cherry juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, Concord grape juice, orange juice, red wine, and iced tea beverages (black tea, green tea, and white tea flavours).
The results of the study showed that pomegranate juice had the highest antioxidant capacity and the most complete antioxidant coverage. In addition, there was extensive evidence of physiological activity of this juice in humans with regard to intima media thickness, cardiac blood ﬂow, prostate cancer protection, erectile dysfunction, and type 2 diabetes. All of these can arguably be related to protection from oxygen radicals or closely related anti-inﬂammatory effects of antioxidant phytochemicals.
Pomegranate juice was closely followed by red wine, Concord grape juice, and blueberry juice.
So according to this study, the best bang for your antioxidant buck would be a high quality pomegranate juice. However, it should be noted that although most of these store-ready juices maintain most of their antioxidant potency, nothing beats having a fresh-pressed juice.
When fruits and vegetables are juiced fresh and consumed immediately you benefit from all their life giving enzymes and other potent phytochemicals. These important compounds lessen as the juice sits in storage or on the shelves. Therefore, for maximum nutrition choose fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. If you’re in a rush and can’t get your hands on a fresh pressed juice then your best liquid antioxidant source (according to this study) would be pomegranate juice.
Read Eating for Energy to learn about the greatest food sources of antioxidants
Seeram, N. et al. (2008). Comparison of Antioxidant Potency of Commonly Consumed Polyphenol-Rich Beverages in the United States. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 56, 1415-1422.
antioxidants, pomegranate juice, yuri elkaim, blueberries, eating for energy, free radicals, berries
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