Fruits and vegetables consumed by Ticos have high levels of antioxidants

Celery, sweet chile, tomato, cilantro and spinach consumed in the country have high levels of antioxidants that help prevent chronic diseases and vision loss.

This was done by a study and announced this morning by the Institute for Research and Education on Nutrition and Health.

The research, conducted by Dr. Rafael Monge, researches incenses, and Dr. Hannia Campos Costa Rican researcher at Harvard University and published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.

The researchers studied 109 products including vegetables, fruits and fats normally consumed in Costa Rica.

The scientists visited different markets and supermarkets in the Central Valley for 9 years and collected one to three kilos of different types of food.

Subsequently, the food is analyzed to find out what their chemical composition of antioxidants.

They looked specifically two antioxidants: carotenoids and tocopherols, known for its anticancer properties and protective of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and stroke, and to prevent eye diseases such as cataracts.

The sweet chile had high levels of carotenoids and tocopherols.

In a press release Monge emphasized the importance of using the leaves of celery in food preparation, because the stem itself has little amount of lutein and zeaxanthin (two carotenoids) compared to that detected in the leaves. It is also important to eat leafy greens like spinach and mustard.

“Maintaining this practice is essential because, in addition to the benefits provided, reduce the use of industrialized condiments that are high in sodium which increases the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Monge.

Meanwhile, Campos added that these studies are vital to know the composition of food Ticos, because the form of culture varies from one country to another and this can alter the nutrient composition.