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Alcohol boosts health benefit of fruit

Strawberry daiquiris all round

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Researchers from Kasetsart University in Thailand and the US Department of Agriculture Research Service have rather agreeably found that alcohol boosts the antioxidant properties of some fruit, the BBC reports.

While investigating ways of keeping fruit fresh during storage, the scientists found that "treating strawberries with alcohol enhanced...the fruit's power to neutralise destructive molecules called free radicals - by a third". They also discovered that blackberries were similarly improved by the treatment.

Dr Frankie Phillips of the British Dietetic Association explained: "It's well known that some preparation of fruit and veg can enhance the availability of nutrients and other plant chemicals including antioxidants. For example, cooking tomatoes or stir frying pepper facilitates availability of the lycopene and beta-carotene they contain. That's why the five-a-day message states to include a variety of fruit and veg as fresh, frozen, juice, dried and canned, and encourages different preparations."

So far so good, but readers will have spotted the fatal flaw in the cunning "give me a large scotch with a strawberry" eternal life plan. Phillips cautioned: "Whilst this study suggests that consuming strawberries with alcohol increases the antioxidant capacity, there are clearly detrimental effects of consuming alcohol in terms of cell damage.

"So any potential antioxidant benefits may be cancelled out by the potential liver damage caused by too much alcohol. Our advice is to enjoy summer berries but don't expect a panacea in the form of a strawberry daiquiri."

Blast. ®

Bootnote

A pint with a slice of guava for our informant Mike Richards.

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