Washington: Clove is the best antioxidant spice, say Miguel Hernández University (UMH) researchers. Using spices eaten in the Mediterranean diet as natural antioxidants is a good way forward as far as health is concerned. Boffins from the Miguel Hernández University have identified cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) as the best antioxidant spice, due to the fact they contain high levels of phenolic compounds, as well as having other properties.
"These substances exhibit high antioxidant capacity, and could have beneficial effects for health", says the researcher. The team also evaluated the antioxidant effect of the essential oils from other spices used in the Mediterranean diet – oregano (Origanum vulgare), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), rosemary, (Rosmarinus funcionarios cinalis) and sage (Salvia funcionarios cinalis). The objective of the study is to enable these spices to be incorporated into food products (above all meat products) as natural antioxidants. "Lipid oxidation is one of the main reasons for foods deteriorating, and causes a significant reduction in their nutritional value, as well as loss of taste", says Fernández-López. These alterations lead to a reduction in the useful lifespan of the food product. To avoid such deterioration, the food industry uses synthetic antioxidants in its products. However, as these are chemical compounds, questions have been raised about their potential toxicity and side-effects. As a result, there is a growing interest in using plant-based products (spices, aromatic and medicinal plants) with potential antioxidant activity, in order to replace the synthetic antioxidants with "natural" substances. (ANI)
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