A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has suggested that kiwifruit contains antioxidants may be nutritionally more beneficial to human health than those found in other antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries.
Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center performed a comparison study between kiwifruit, red grapes and strawberries which reportedly showed the antioxidants in kiwifruit to be the most easily metabolized and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Led by Dr Ronald Prior, the research team measured the antioxidants in the body by noting increases in blood antioxidant capacity and cells' increased resistance to oxidative damage induced by hydrogen peroxide.
To test kiwifruit's antioxidant capacity, seven healthy women were given two servings of green Hayward kiwifruit (300g) per day. Blood samples were taken from the participants after an overnight fast before fruit ingestion and at 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 hours after fruit ingestion.
The results found that kiwifruit provided for an antioxidant intake score of 12.5, as compared with grapes (4.2) and strawberries (1.7). Kiwifruit resulted in the most significant increase in antioxidant metabolism and absorption, the study found.
While scientists may not yet know the exact mechanism that causes certain high-antioxidant fruits to perform better in the body than others, they do know that antioxidants are paramount to good nutrition, as Dr Prior asserts in USDA press materials.
"We're learning that antioxidants should be consumed with every meal, and if you routinely skip antioxidants in your diet, over time, the excess number of free radicals being produced may begin damaging cellular components, ultimately leading to atherosclerosis, cancer, and other diseases," he commented.
Dr Prior also noted that volunteers' increased blood antioxidant capacity may, in part, be attributed to the high vitamin C content of kiwifruit.