(NaturalNews) Capers are high in antioxidants, and may help counteract the harmful health effects of meats when used as a seasoning, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Palermo, Italy, and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Researchers analyzed the rutin content of capers, and found that it compared favorably with the antioxidant content of high-antioxidant foods. "According to our measurements, one serving of caper [8.6 g] provides an amount of rutin no less than that of a 100g serving of fried onions, considered to be a good dietary source of such flavonoid," the authors wrote.
In addition, the researchers found that half a micromole of gallic acid equivalents (GAE) of caper extract had the same antioxidant effect as five micromoles GAE of vitamin E. Rutin is a naturally occurring antioxidant plant compound in the flavonoid family.
While many other fruits and vegetables contain a significantly higher antioxidant content, the researchers found that capers may be particularly helpful at offsetting the damaging effects of meat when the two foods are consumed together.
When extract of capers was added to grilled ground turkey and the meat was subjected to a simulated digestion process, the formation of byproducts linked to increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease was significantly reduced. This effect was obtained with as low a concentration of 70 micromoles GAE.
"It may be worthwhile to mention that the antioxidative activity was evident at a caper/red meat
ratio of 1:10, which is consistent with the use of the caper buds as a cooking flavoring," the researchers wrote.
The caper extract apparently prevented the oxidation of lipids in the meat. "By inhibiting the accumulation of harmful lipid oxidation products and increasing the level of bioavailable vitamin E, caper may have beneficial health effects, especially for people whose meals are rich in fats and red meats," the researchers said.