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Scientists discover unique way to more than double antioxidant content in ordinary potatoes

Thursday, August 26, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: potatoes, antioxidants, health news

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(NaturalNews) Scientists from Obihiro University in Hokkaido, Japan, have discovered a simple, cost-effective way to boost antioxidant levels in ordinary potatoes. Shocking potatoes with low levels of electricity or subjecting them to ultrasound waves for a short period of time visibly increases their polyphenol levels by more than double, say researchers.

The study, which will be presented at the 240th national Meeting of the American Chemistry Society (ACS), represents a breakthrough in research because scientists say it has great potential for commercial use to increase antioxidant levels in all sorts of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

"We knew from research done in the past that drought, bruising and other stresses could stimulate the accumulation of beneficial phenolic compounds in fresh produce," explained Kazunori Hironaka, Ph.D., author of the study. "Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are considered to be of nutritional importance in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, various cancers, diabetes and neurological diseases."

After subjecting potatoes to anywhere between five and 30 minutes of stimulation, the team observed that their phenol and chlorogenic acid content increased by 50 percent or more. Potatoes submerged in water and given ultrasound treatment for a mere five minutes generated about 160 percent more antioxidants than what they had prior to the treatment.

It is unclear from the study if any other nutritional compounds are destroyed during the shocking process. However, considering that the heat used to cook potatoes is far more intense than the minute levels of shock used in the study, it is unlikely that such treatments damage the potatoes in any way.

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