The consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of major chronic degenerative diseases. The active compounds and the mechanisms involved in this protective effect have not been well defined. The objective of this study was to determine the contribution of various food groups to total antioxidant intake, and to assess the correlations of the total antioxidant intake from various food groups with plasma antioxidants. We collected 7-d weighed dietary records in a group of 61 adults with corresponding plasma samples, and used data from a nationwide survey of 2672 Norwegian adults based on an extensive FFQ. The total intake of antioxidants was ∼17 mmol/d with β-carotene, α-tocopherol, and vitamin C contributing < 10%. The intake of coffee contributed ∼11.1 mmol, followed by fruits (1.8 mmol), tea (1.4 mmol), wine (0.8 mmol) mmol), cereals (i.e., all grain containing foods; 0.8 mmol), and vegetables (0.4 mmol). The intake of total antioxidants was significantly correlated with plasma lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. Among individual food groups, coffee, wine, and vegetables were significantly correlated with dietary zeaxanthin, β-carotene, and α-carotene. These data agree with the hypothesis that dietary antioxidants other than the well-known antioxidants contribute to our antioxidant defense. Surprisingly, he single greatest contributor to the total antioxidant intake was coffee.
- Total antioxidants