Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-5676f Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-07T01:03:51.342Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Antioxidant capacity of vegetables, spices and dressings relevant to nutrition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

Paolino Ninfali*
Istituto di Chimica Biologica, ‘G. Fornaini’ Università di Urbino, via Saffi 2, 61 029 Urbino, (PU), Italy Centro di Biotecnologie, Università di Urbino, via T. Campanella 1, 61 032 Fano, (PU), Italy
Gloria Mea
Centro di Biotecnologie, Università di Urbino, via T. Campanella 1, 61 032 Fano, (PU), Italy
Samantha Giorgini
Centro di Biotecnologie, Università di Urbino, via T. Campanella 1, 61 032 Fano, (PU), Italy
Marco Rocchi
Istituto di Biomatematica, Università di Urbino, Loc. Crocicchia, 61 029 Urbino, (PU), Italy
Mara Bacchiocca
Istituto di Chimica Biologica, ‘G. Fornaini’ Università di Urbino, via Saffi 2, 61 029 Urbino, (PU), Italy
*Corresponding author: Professor Paolino Ninfali, fax +39 722 320188, email
Rights & Permissions [Opens in a new window]


Core share and HTML view are not possible as this article does not have html content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Vegetables are the most important sources of phenolics in the Mediterranean diet. Phenolics, especially flavonoids, are suggested as being essential bioactive compounds providing health benefits. In this study, twenty-seven vegetables, fifteen aromatic herbs and some spices consumed in Central Italy (the Marches region) were studied to reveal total phenolic, flavonoid and flavanol content as well as their antioxidant capacity measured by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) method. A comparison in terms of antioxidant capacity was made between different salads, as well as between salads to which aromatic herbs had been added. Lemon balm and marjoram at a concentration of 1·5 % w/w increased by 150 % and 200 % respectively the antioxidant capacity of a salad portion. A 200 g portion of a salad enriched with marjoram corresponded to an intake of 200 (sd 10) mg phenolics and 4000 (sd 300) ORAC units (μmol Trolox equivalents). Olive oils and wine or apple vinegars were the salad dressings that provided the highest increase in antioxidant capacity. Among the spices tested, cumin and fresh ginger made the most significant contribution to the antioxidant capacity. The results are useful in surveying the antioxidant parameters of vegetables, herbs and spices produced and consumed in our geographical area as well as in quantifying the daily intake of phenolics and ORAC units. The results can be used in public health campaigns to stimulate the consumption of vegetables able to provide significant health protection in order to prevent chronic diseases.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2005


American Dietetic Association (1999) Dietary guidance for healthy children aged 2 to 11 years. J Am Diet Assoc 99, 93101.Google Scholar
Ames, BN (1998) Micronutrients prevent cancer and delay aging. Toxicol Letts 5, 102103.Google Scholar
Ames, BN, Gold, LS & Willett, WC (1995) The causes and prevention of cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92, 52585265.Google Scholar
Ames, BN, Shigenaga, MK & Hagen, TM (1993) Oxidants, antioxidants and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90, 79157922.Google Scholar
Arnous, A, Makris, DP & Kefalas, P (2002) Correlation of pigment and flavanol content with antioxidant properties in selected aged regional wines from Greece. J Food Composit Anal 15, 655665.Google Scholar
Arts, ICW, Van de Putte, B & Hollman, PCH (2000) Catechin contents of foods commonly consumed in The Netherlands. 1. Fruits, vegetables, staple foods, and processed foods. J Agric Food Chem 48, 17461751.Google Scholar
Aviram, M (1999) Antiatherogenicity of antioxidants against LDL oxidation. In Natural Antioxidants and Anticarcinogens in Nutrition, Health and Disease, 919 [Kumpulainen, JT and Solonen, JT, editors] Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.Google Scholar
Benavente-Garcia, O, Castillo, J, Marin, FR, Ortuno, A, del Rio, JA (1997) Use and properties of citrus flavonoids. J Agric Food Chem 45, 45054515.Google Scholar
Bugianesi, R, Catasta, G, Spigno, P, D'Uva, A & Maiani, G (2002) Neringenin from cooked tomato paste is bioavailable in men. J Nutr 132, 33493352.Google Scholar
Burns, J, Gardner, PT, O'Neil, J (2000) Relationship among antioxidant activity, vasodilatation capacity and phenolic content of red wines. J Agric Food Chem 48, 220230.Google Scholar
Cao, G, Alessio, HM & Culter, RG (1993) Oxygen-radical absorbance capacity assay for antioxidants. Free Rad Biol Med 14, 303311.Google Scholar
Cao, G, Russell, RM, Lischner, N & Prior, RL (1998) Serum antioxidant capacity is increased by consumption of strawberries, spinach, red wine or vitamin C in elderly women. J Nutr 128, 23832390.Google Scholar
Cao, G, Sofic, E & Prior, RL (1997) Antioxidant and prooxidant behavior of flavonoids: structure–activity relationship. Free Rad Biol Med 22, 749760.Google Scholar
Celi, F, Bini, V, De Giorgi, G, Molinari, D, Faraoni, F, Di Stephano, G, Bacosi, ML, Berioli, MG, Contessa, G & Falorni, A (2003) Epidemiology of overweight and obesity among school children and adolescents in three provinces of central Italy, 1993–2001: Study of potential influencing variables. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 10451051.Google Scholar
De Pascual-Teresa, S, Santos-Buelga, C, Rivas-Gonzalo, JC (2000) Quantitative analysis of flavan-3-ols in Spanish foodstuffs beverages. J Agric Food Chem 48, 53315337.Google Scholar
Diaz, MN, Frei, B, Vita, JA & Keaney, JF (1997) Antioxidants and atherosclerotic heart disease. N Eng J Med 337, 408416.Google Scholar
Eberhardt, MV, Lee, CY & Liu, RH (2000) Antioxidant activity of fresh apples. Nature 405, 903904.Google Scholar
Erlund, I, Silaste, ML, Alfthan, G, Rantala, M, Kesaniemi, YA & Aro, A (2002) Plasma concentrations of the flavonoids hesperitin, narigenin and quercetin in human subjects following their habitual diets high or low in fruit and vegetables. Eur J Clin Nutr 56, 891898.Google Scholar
Franke, AA, Custer, LJ, Arakaki, C & Murphy, SP (2004) Vitamin C and flavonoids levels of fruits and vegetables consumed in Hawaii. J Food Composit Anal 17, 135.Google Scholar
Gariballa, SE & Sinclair, AJ (1998) Nutrition, ageing and ill health. Br J Nutr 80, 723.Google Scholar
Giacosa, A, Filiberti, R, Hill, MJ & Faivre, J (1997) Vitamins and cancer chemioprevention. Eur J Cancer Prev 6, S47S54.Google Scholar
Gil, MI, Ferreres, F, Tomàs-Barberàn, FA (1999) Effect of postharvest storage and processing on the antioxidant constituents (flavonoids and vitamin C) of fresh-cut spinach. J Agric Food Chem 47, 22132217.Google Scholar
Halliwell, B (1999) Establishing the significant and optimal intake of dietary antioxidants: the biomarker concept. Nutr Rev 57, 104113.Google Scholar
Kalt, W, Forney, CF & McDonald, J (1998) Changes in fruit phenolic composition and antioxidant capacity during storage. Hortic Sci 33, 469 (abstract).Google Scholar
Kalt, W, Forney, CF, Martin, A & Prior, RL (1999) Antioxidant capacity, vitamin C, phenolics, and anthocyanins after fresh storage of small fruits. J Agric Food Chem 47, 46384644.Google Scholar
Liu, M, Li, QX, Weber, C, Lee, CY, Brown, J & Liu, RH (2002) Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of raspberries. J Agric Food Chem 50, 29262930.Google Scholar
Lu, H, Meng, X & Li, C (2003) Glucuronides of tea catechins: enzymology of biosynthesis and biological activities. Drug Metab Dispos 31, 452461.Google Scholar
Miller, ER, Appel, LJ & Risby, TH (1998) Effect of dietary patterns on measures of lipid peroxidation: result from a randomized clinical trial. Circulation 98, 23902395.Google Scholar
Miyagi, Y, Miwa, K & Inoue, H (1997) Inhibition of human low-density lipoprotein oxidation by flavonoids in red wine and grape juice. Am J Cardiol 80, 16271631.Google Scholar
Mukamal, KJ, Conigrave, KM, Mittleman, MA, Camargo, CA, Stampfer, MJ, Willet, WC & Rimm, EB (2003) Roles of drinking pattern and type of alchohol consumed in coronary heart disease in men. N Engl J Med 348, 109118.Google Scholar
Muller, H, Bub, A, Waltzl, B & Rechkemmer, G (1999) Plasma concentration of carotenoids in healthy volunteers after intervention with carotenoid-rich foods. Eur J Nutr 38, 3544.Google Scholar
Nicoli, MC, Anese, M & Parpinel, M (1999) Influence of processing on the antioxidant properties of fruit and vegetables. Trends Food Sci Technol 10, 94100.Google Scholar
Ninfali, P & Bacchiocca, M (2003) Polyphenols and antioxidant capacity of vegetables under fresh and frozen conditions. J Agric Food Chem 51, 22222226.Google Scholar
Ninfali, P & Bacchiocca, M (2004) Parameters for the detection of post-harvest quality in fresh or transformed horticultural crops. J Food Agric Environ 2, 122127.Google Scholar
Ninfali, P, Aluigi, G, Bacchiocca, M & Magnani, M (2001) Antioxidant capacity of vegetable oils. J Am Oil Chem Soc 78, 243247.Google Scholar
Ninfali, P, Bacchiocca, M, Biagiotti, E, Servili, M & Montedoro, GF (2002) Validation of the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) parameter as a new index of quality and stability of virgin olive oil. J Am Oil Chem Soc 79, 977982.Google Scholar
Ou, B, Hampsch-Woodill, M & Prior, RL (2001) Development and validation of an improved oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay using fluorescein as the fluorescent probe. J Agric Food Chem 49, 46194626.Google Scholar
Ou, B, Huang, D, Hampsch-Woodill, M, Flanagan, JA & Deemer, E (2002) Analysis of antioxidant activities of common vegetables employing oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays: a comparative study. J Agric Food Chem 50, 31223128.Google Scholar
Prior, RL, Hoang, H & Gu, L (2003) Assays for hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC FL)) of plasma and other biological and food samples. J Agric Food Chem 51, 32733279.Google Scholar
Reaven, GM (2001) Insulin resistance, compensatory hyperinsulinemia, and coronary heart disease: syndrome X revisited. In Handbook of Physiology, Section 7. The Endocrine System, vol. II, The Endocrine Pancreas and Regulation of Metabolism 11691197 [Jefferson, LS and Cherrington, AD, editors] New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Rumm-Kreuter, D (2001) Comparison of the eating and cooking habits of northern Europe and Mediterranean countries in the past, present and future. Int J Vitamin Nutr Res 71, 141148.Google Scholar
Serafini, M, Bugianesi, R, Salucci, M, Azzini, E, Raguzzini, A & Maiani, G (2002) Effect of acute ingestion of fresh and stored lettuce ( Lactuca sativa ) on plasma total antioxidant capacity and antioxidant capacity and levels in human subjects. Br J Nutr 88, 615623.Google Scholar
Singleton, VL, Orthofer, R, Lamuela-Raventos, RM (1999) Analysis of total phenols and other oxidation substrates and antioxidants by mean of Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. Methods Enzymol 299, 152178.Google Scholar
Smith, MJ, Inserra, PF, Watson, RR, Wise, JA, O'Neill, KL (1999) Supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts may decrease DNA damage in the peripheral lymphocytes of an elderly population. Nutr Res 19, 15071518.Google Scholar
Stewart, RJ, Askew, EW, McDonald, CM, Metos, J, Jackson, WD, Baldon, TW & Prior, RL (2002) Antioxidant status of young children: response to an antioxidant supplement. J Am Diet Assoc 102, 16521657.Google Scholar
Szeto, YT, Tomlinson, B & Benzie, IFF (2002) Total antioxidant and ascorbic acid content of fresh fruits and vegetables: implications for dietary planning and food preservation. Br J Nutr 87, 5559.Google Scholar
Vinson, JA, Proch, J & Bose, P (2001) Determination of quantity and quality of poliphenol antioxidants in foods and beverages. Methods Enzymol 335, 103114.Google Scholar
Visioli, F & Galli, C (1998) The effect of minor constituents of olive oil on cardiovascular disease: new findings. Nutr Rev 56, 142147.Google Scholar
Visioli, F, Bellomo, G & Galli, C (1998) Free radical-scavenging properties of olive oil polyphenols. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 247, 6064.Google Scholar
Walle, T (2004) Absorption and metabolism of flavonoids. Free Rad Biol Med 36, 829837.Google Scholar
Willett, WC (2002) Balancing life-style and genomics research for disease prevention. Science 296, 695698.Google Scholar
World Health OrganizationWorld Health Organization (1985) Diabetes Mellitus: Report of a WHO Study Group.Geneva:WHO.Google Scholar
World Health OrganizationWorld Health Organization (1990) Diet, Nutrition and Prevention of Chronic Diseases: Report of a WHO Study Group Technical Report Seriesno. 797GenevaWHO.Google Scholar
World Health OrganizationWorld Health Organization (2003) Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation: Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases Technical Report Seriesno. 916Geneva:WHO.Google Scholar
Zheng, W & Wang, SY (2001) Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in selected herbs. J Agric Food Chem 49, 51655170.Google Scholar