Antioxidant capacity of String Beans, Winged Beans, French Beans, and Snow Peas

The antioxidant craze has taken hold in recent years, and while everyone knows they should be eating fruits, vegetables, and grains to get their antioxidants, hard core health types are always seeking specific numbers to know which vegetables packs the most anti-degenerative disease power.

In a study out of the Journal of Nutrition and Food Science four non-leafy vegetables were analyzed for their antioxidant capacity. Their antioxidant capacity was measured as the amount of phenolic, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and beta-carotene present in the vegetables. This capacity was combined to create a single "antioxidant score" and the results are as follows:

  1. String Beans - 85
  2. Winged Beans - 75
  3. French Beans - 72
  4. Snow Peas - 55

How are these values measured? First samples of each of the vegetables are ground up, put in ethanol, shaken, and then filtered to create an extract which can be analyzed. The extract mixture is frozen to maintain its integrity, and then added to a spectroscopy machine, or a machine that can identify certain chemicals in the extract. The machine then feeds back numbers from the analysis as to how many antioxidants each vegetable contains.

Despite the ranking above, the paper cites that there was no statistically significant difference in the antioxidant capacity of the four vegetables. The truth of the matter is that antioxidant capacity of foods is still difficult to work out and measure. For more antioxidant numbers take a look at the U.S. Governments' "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity" of select foods.

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