The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of consumption of a high-fruit and vegetable diet, or a spray-dried extract of selected fruits and vegetables of high antioxidant content, on indices of antioxidant status of individuals consuming a background diet with minimal antioxidant intake. Plasma antioxidant concentrations were determined in twenty-five men following a 2-week depletion period during which they consumed self-selected low-antioxidant diets (less than three servings of fruit and vegetables with no tea, coffee, red wine or fruit juice). Following this period the volunteers consumed either a self-selected diet containing five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables/d, or 30 g of a spray-dried supplement designed to provide the equivalent antioxidant activity of five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables for 2 weeks in a crossover trial. Following consumption of a high-antioxidant diet for 2 weeks, plasma concentrations of ascorbic acid, α- and β-carotene and lutein+zeaxanthin were all significantly increased (P<0.05) over the depletion period. However, concentrations of lycopene, retinol and tocopherol were not affected. Consumption of the supplement also raised the concentrations of these same antioxidants in plasma. Despite the increases in the concentrations of measured antioxidant nutrients, the 6-hydroxy-2,5,7,8-tetramethylchroman-2-carboxylic acid-equivalent antioxidant capacity of plasma, as estimated by inhibition of metmyoglobin activity, was not significantly affected by any of the dietary treatments.
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