Cloves: The natural food antioxidant

March 18, 2010 at 1:47 PM
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ELCHE, Spain, March 18 (UPI) -- Researchers in Spain say cloves scored the highest marks as a natural antioxidant that may help fight the effects of aging.

Researchers at Miguel Hernandez University determined cloves contain high levels of phenolic compounds and other properties key to fighting off the effects of aging. They said these properties make cloves a good candidate for inclusion in food -- especially meat products -- as a natural preservative.

Cloves scored the highest marks when tested on five characteristics of good antioxidants. Other high scorers among the spices of the Mediterranean diet tested included essential oils from oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage.

"These substances exhibit high antioxidant capacity, and could have beneficial effects for health," study co-author Juana Fernandez-Lopez said in a statement.

The study, published in Flavour and Fragrance Journal, focused on how Mediterranean diet spices might naturally prevent food from deteriorating. Fernandez-Lopez said the food industry currently uses synthetic antioxidants in its products but as these chemical compounds raise questions about potential toxicity and side-effects, there is a growing interest in using plant-based products.

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