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Title: Antioxidants in food : content, measurement, significance, action, cautions, caveats, and research needs
Authors: Benzie, IFF 
Choi, SW
Keywords: Antioxidant
Antioxidant response element
FRAP assay
Oxidative stress
Reactive oxygen species
Redox tone
Issue Date: 2014
Source: Advances in food and nutrition research, 2014, v. 71, p. 1-53 How to cite?
Journal: Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 
Abstract: There are a multitude of antioxidants in foods, especially in foods of plant origin. Higher intake of antioxidant-rich foods is clearly associated with better health and functional longevity. The specific agents and mechanisms responsible are not yet clear, but there is convincing evidence that including more plant-based, antioxidant-rich foods, herbs, and beverages in the diet is effective in promoting health and lowering risk of various age-related diseases. The content of some individual antioxidants, such as vitamin C, in food can be measured, but it is not feasible to attempt to measure each antioxidant separately, and methods have been developed to assess the "total antioxidant content" of foods. One of the most widely used methods is the ferric reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP) assay, which is relatively simple, quick, sensitive, and inexpensive to perform. There are many published studies that have used the FRAP assay, and these have generated a very large database of total antioxidant content of foods that can help guide food choices for increased antioxidant intake. The FRAP assay has also been used to assess the bioavailability of antioxidants in foods and to investigate the effects of growing conditions, storage, processing, and cooking method on the total antioxidant content of food. The test can be employed as a quality control check device, and to detect adulteration of food. Furthermore, in a modified form (FRASC), the assay can measure ascorbic acid content almost simultaneously with the total antioxidant content of the sample. In this chapter, basic concepts of oxidation and the role of antioxidants, as well as the types and action of different antioxidants in foods will be reviewed briefly, and the underpinning concepts and evidence for health benefits of increased intake of dietary antioxidants will be discussed, with some focus on vitamin C, and also in the context of our evolutionary development. The basic concepts and limitations of measuring "total antioxidant content" of food will be presented. The FRAP assay and the modified version FRASC will be described, and the total antioxidant content (as the FRAP value) of a range of foods will be presented. Finally, issues of bioavailability and redox balance will be discussed in relation to the biological significance and molecular action of antioxidants in foods, some caution and caveats are presented about overcoming biological barriers to absorption of antioxidant phytochemicals, and research needs to further our understanding in the important area of food, antioxidants, and health will be highlighted.
ISSN: 1043-4526
DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800270-4.00001-8
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