Over-Hyped Antioxidants

Blueberries are heavily marketed as a super source of antioxidants.

The video explains, "The astounding antioxidant capacity of the wild blueberry is what first attracted modern-day scientists to study this amazing gift from mother nature."

And in supermarkets, you see the word "antioxidants" everywhere. Snapple iced tea mix boasts "antioxidants." Tropicana Orange juice says it has an "antioxidant advantage." And even this bag of chips
claims it "contains antioxidant power."

Dr. John Santa with Consumer Reports says, "Antioxidants are beneficial. They block the action of free radicals, which can damage healthy cells in your body and contribute to heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses."

But Consumer Reports' health experts say don't be taken in by packaged foods touting antioxidants.

Gayle Williams with Consumer Reports explains, "A manufacturer can add antioxidants to food, but that doesn't mean it's a good source for what you need."

Take Kellogg's FiberPlus bars that say they are "rich in antioxidants, Vitamin E, and Zinc."

Gayle says, "You can get more vitamin E from just once ounce of almonds, and you can get more zinc from just three ounces of lean beef."

And should you really focus on wild blueberries? Are they the "number one antioxidant fruit?"

Gayle says, "There is no one antioxidant 'superfood.' The best thing to do is eat a wide variety of foods that are naturally rich in antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Those will give you the biggest benefit."

As for antioxidant supplements, Consumer Reports says clinical trials of supplemental antioxidants haven't shown much real benefit.

Some even suggest some supplements could be harmful. So stick with food to get your antioxidants.

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