Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Aliment. 7(1) 2008, 5-17

THE SOURCES OF NATURAL ANTIOXIDANTS Elżbieta Sikora, Ewa Cieślik, Kinga Topolska
Agricultural University of Cracow
Abstract. Intensive oxidative processes occuring in human organism lead to formation of oxygen reactive forms, which can damage systemic cells and tissues. It is shown, that body endogenous protective system can be supported in that case by natural antioxidant compounds provided from food. The assessment of food products as the potential sources of antioxidants was performed, taking into consideration the kinds of compounds supplied, and their significance in the diet of different nations. Key words: antioxidants, polyphenols, source of antioxidants in diet

THE KINDS OF NATURAL ANTIOXIDANTS IN DIET The results of epidemiological and scientific studies show that nutritional factor plays important role in prevention of the consequences of free radicals activity in the organism. A diet rich in natural antioxidants can significantly influence the increase of reactive antioxidant potential of the organism, and ipso facto decrease the risk of some diseases of free radicals origin. It is considered that adequate level of antioxidants supplied with diet induces immunological processes and increases defensive abilities of cell in proper way [Ghiselli et al. 2000, Prior 2003, Gałek and Targoński 2003, Grajek 2004]. There are mentioned: tocopherols (vitamin E), vitamin C, vitamin A, and also its provitamin β-carotene as well as selenium and phenolic compounds among antioxidants. Properties and significance of vitamins A, C and E are quite well known being a subject (as a nutritional compound) of numerous studies for a long time [Wartanowicz and Ziemlański 1992, 1999]. Recently, the attention has been paid to antioxidative properties of other compounds belonging to carotenoids, particularly to lycopene and lutein. It has been shown that lycopene is the most effective compound removing singlet oxygen, and its high consumption is negatively correlated with some types of cancer [Wąsowicz and Gromadzińska 2005, Omoni and Aluko 2005]. First of all, lutein plays some role in protection of retina against harmful action of free radicals and in prevention of atherosclerosis [Boileau 2002, Boban 2002].
Corresponding author – Adres do korespondencji: Dr hab. Elżbieta Sikora, Department of Human Nutrition of Agricultural University of Cracow, Balicka 122, 30-149 Cracow, Poland, e-mail: rresikor@cyf-kr.edu.pl

e. eggs). Vitamins soluble in lipids and selenium occur also in food derived from animals (milk and fish lipids. Fruits of blackcurrant have a high content of antioxidants. Benvenuti et al. and also dietary fiber. and their preserves. and also herbs and spices. Manach et al. In relation to the structure of basic carbon frame. 2004]. 1995. Sikora . but in smaller amounts. kind and location of substituents in molecule. in practice. and this is why the basis source of these compounds for humans are plant-derived products. they can be very generally divided to phenolic acids (derivatives of hydroxybenzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid) and flavonoids. tea. Polyphenols are considered to be the most effective antioxidants. However. ANTIOXIDATIVE PROPERTIES OF FRUITS Fruits belong to food products appreciated by dieteticians and nutritionists. the other contain huge amounts of phenolic compounds. and sometimes can substitute vitamin in its function. 2004]. coffee. in dependence on the structure of heterocyclic carbon ring [Bravo 1998. Manach et al. it is known that chemical and physical properties. mainly lutein and Acta Sci. and also vitamin C. it protects cell membranes against free radicals generation. That is why. they can also intensify the activity of other antioxidants. 2005]. wine. carotenoids and polyphenolic compounds. Among particular subclasses there is a huge diversity in relation to the number. carotenoids content in milk lipids. vegetables. Especially berry fruits are precious in this regard. however the presence in ring B of hydroxyl groups in orto. cereals and legumes. kaempferol and apigenin glycosides dominate.. Majority of fruits are rich source of vitamin C. They contain huge amounts of vitamin C. Nijveldt 2001. eggs). Location and level of hydroxylation have essential influence on antioxidative properties. Detailed chemical structure of many phenolic compounds is not yet well known. inter alia soluble in lipids vitamins. It is known as connected with the presence of this element in glutation peroxidase (GSHPx). the content of particular substances with antioxidant activity is rather diversified – some of them are especially rich source of vitamin C. Bioactivity of selenium was proved. and also significant amounts of carotenoids. Acting as antioxidant. natural antioxidants are present in plants. and thanks to that. the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases decreases [Wąsowicz and Gromadzińska 2005]. Among these latter. there are many subclasses. The richest sources of antioxidants are fruits. They contain several vitamins and mineral salts deciding about their nutritional value.6 E. First of all. biological activity and metabolism depend on the number. in range of 120-215 mg/100 g [Hägg et al. Pol. Among berry fruits. among which quercetin.. products derived from animals are not significant sources of antioxidants in human diet. in the second part of last century. big interest of scientists and food producers has been concentrated on phenolic compounds. For several years. In these processes. which plays main protective role against oxidation of cell membranes lipids and takes part in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and lipids’ hydroxyperoxides metabolism. belonging to natural non-nutritional substances (NSN). . and in dependence on kind of feed consumed (f.position increases this activity [Scalbert and Williamson 2000. and location of hydroxyl (OH) groups. beer. selenium plays the role similar to vitamin E. forming of metoxyl (OCH3) groups and substitution of glycoside residues. The most popular polyphenols are flavonoids.

The sources of natural antioxidants 7 β-carotene [Olsson et al. They contain anthocyanins (peonidin and cyanidin). ellagitannins). where the biggest share have anthocyanins and ellagic acid with its derivatives (glycosides. 2004. Phenolic compounds are present in these fruits in amount about 20 mg/g d. what is very important in atherosclerosis prevention. are mainly anthocyanins and derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid. being very popular fruits in our country. In blackcurrant fruits phenolic compounds are also present. which modulates lipid metabolism. with anthocyanins consisting 1/3 [Kähkönen et al. represented mainly by chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids. It was shown. inhibits lipoproteins oxidation and platelets aggregation.m. 2004. contain group of polyphenols are the derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid. and next in order (10%) – derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid [Kähkönen et al. Wu et al. with over 50% share for anthocyanins. 2004]. Its presence in red wine is an explanation of French paradox. 2004]. Bilberries. Fresh juice from Technologia Alimentaria 7(1) 2008 .m. Vinson et al. decide about very tart taste of Aronia malanocarpa fruits. but the most important antioxidants are phenolic compounds. that this last compound is a very active antioxidant. 2001.. The richest source are pomace received during vine production. Among anthocyanins. especially m-coumaric acid [Zadernowski et al. Minor content of antioxidant compounds contain “high” blueberry known as “American”. Taruscio et al. 2003. 2001. pelargonidin 3-glucoside dominates.m. 1995. on the level of about 25 mg/g d. The results of many studies showed that the best source of compounds with antioxidant activity are wild plants fruit. 2001. Except anthocyanins. contain vitamin C and carotenoids... among which derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid dominate. while in stones – cyanidin 3-glucoside [Aaby et al. while in peel – ellagic acid. together with epicatechins. present mainly in pulp. which are rich source of vitamin C (35-104 mg/100 g). 2002. kaempferol i trans-resveratrol [Pastrana-Bonilla et al. 2004]. from this 70% consist anthocyans. The subject of many studies were antioxidative properties of strawberry fruits. 1999. The latter. Oszmiański and Wojdylo 2005]. Phenolic compounds present in grapes. Klopotek et al. Total content of phenolic compounds in bilberries reaches about 30 mg/g d. catechins and epicatechins.m. flavanones and procyanidin. and phenolic compounds [Hägg et al. Taruscio et al. myricetin. Aronia malanocarpa fruits are considered as the richest polyphenols source. Kammerer et al.) are cranberries. The rich source of phenolic compounds (about 20 mg/g d. Klopotek et al. 2001]. 1999. 2001. 2005]. Olsson et al. Hakala et al. 2004]. Benvenuti et al.m. mainly in seeds and peel. From grape kernels para-pharmaceutic preparations recommended in prevention of ischaemic heart diseases are produced [Lutomski and Mścisz 2003]. Määttä-Riihinen et al. myricetin and derivatives of hydroxycinnamic acid [Kähkönen et al. flavonols and stilbenoids. 2004]. 2004. 2005]. and from flavonols – quercetin. 2003. which can make 35-40% of total polyphenols content [Kähkönen et al. blackcurrant fruits contain phenolic acids. These compounds. 2005]. which is contemporary one of more preferably cultivated in Poland and so its significance as a source of antioxidants in our diet increases [Halvorsen et al. quercetin. Among polyphenols present in seeds of grapes dominate: gallic acid. which causes that they are rarely consumed in raw state [Niedworak and Brzozowski 2001. 2005]. Resveratrol influences the inhibition of tumour growth and metastasis of malignant tumours. It is shown that biologically active phenolic compounds present in these fruit thanks to antioxidative properties decrease risk of atherosclerosis and inhibit tumorous cell growth. Their total content is 40-70 mg/g d. Ellagic acid makes up also over a half of polyphenols amount in raspberries [Anttonen and Karjalainen 2005].

Lugasi et al. Sikora . with their content about 7-times higher in peel than in pulp. Main phenolic acid in apples is chlorogenic acid. carrot and pumpkin are listed among vegetables [Holden et al. eriodictyol) dominate. Among them. 1999. among dihydrochalcons – phloridzin and phloretin-2-xyloglucoside. 2004. They decide about organoleptic features and healing properties of products made from these fruits [Kähkönen et al. garlic and red beet. 2004. onion.) of blackberry first of all decide about its antioxidant activity [Benvenuti et al. Saura-Calixto et al. Steward at al. VEGETABLES AS A SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS Among vegetables the best sources of antioxidants are tomatoes. kale. Reyes-Carmona et al. Acta Sci. Pol. too [Gorinstein et al. oranges – are a rich source of antioxidants. ellagic acid has the biggest share and the next in turn are procyanidins and epicatechins stored in seeds [Benvenuti et al. Almost 80% of apple polyphenols contain polymeric procyanidins and monomeric flavanols. 2004. mainly flavonols.m.m. lemons. [2000] studies show that 98% of flavonols present in tomatoes are placed in fruit peel. Lycopene is present in tomatoes peel in amount of 3025 µg/100 g. Määttä-Riihinen et al. cinnamic acid. while kaempherol – 30% of total flavonols content.) and also phenolic compounds (26-46 mg/g d. Lugasi et al. These compounds influence juice quality (especially colour and taste) in a wide range [Lu and Foo 1997. trans-resveratrol and p-coumaric acid dominate. that removing of tomato peel significantly decreases polyphenols level. 2005]. 2004. 2002. 2004]. 2001. Polyphenolic compounds (about 23 mg/g d. from which 96% of it consists the quercetin. Pink grapefruits show relatively high content of lycopene. Red pepper is appreciated mainly because of high content of vitamin C (144 mg/100 g) and cryptoxantin. according to the amount. 2005]. Zadernowski et al. Brassica vegetables. 2005. Bushman et al. dihydrochalcons and flavonols. Many authors emphasise the significance of apples as a source of phenolic compounds (even to 5. 2007].8 E. with dominating epicatechin and its dimmer procyanidin B2. Considering vitamin C or β-carotene content.6 µg/g d. 2004]. because of big content of vitamin C (40-50 mg/100 g) and phenolic compounds. In pulp and seeds compounds of quercetin consist about 70%. Crowberry fruits are valuable source of vitamin C. 2005]. Next. among which flavanones (hesperitin. Kopsell and Kopsell 2006].. Siriwoharn and Wrolstad 2004. Ehala et al. red pepper. and tomatoes as a source of lycopene. and better absorbed form is supplied by tomatoes preserves. Halvorsen et al. naringenin. however.. Siriwoharn et al.0 g/kg). 2003]. considerably higher amounts. 2004. Cieślik at al. besides anthocyanins and flavonols placed mainly in pulp. Ferguson et al. flavanols and procyanidins. 2001. 2000]. 2003. with its amount about 18 mg/100 g. So it means. . Tomatoes are also a source of polyphenol compounds. In their composition. Olsson et al. parsley roots. They contain also carotenoides – lutein (about 3.m. Reyes-Carmona et al. 1999. cranberry fruits (which can the gained from frozen fruits) showes particularly high activity [Rodowski 2001.) [Kähkönen et al. for example ketchup (9900 µ g/100 g) [Horbowicz and Saniewski 2000. 2006. Citrus fruits – grapefruits. are phenolic acids. 2001.) and β-carotene (2 µg/g d.m.

1998]. In carrot. Chinese cabbage. that in non-processed vegetables flavonoids are rarely present in aglycon form. From phenolic acids group in vegetables are mainly spread derivatives of hydroxycynamonnic acid. Mattila and Hellström 2007]. besides chlorogenic acid. It is worth to be marked. [2004] found that flavonoids share in total content of polyphenols in 6 on 10 studied vegetables was in range of 51-79%. and – in opinion of some scientists – surpasses such vegetables as carrot. Generally. Bahorun et al. Among glycosides of flavonol in onion were identified: 4-glucoside of quercetin and 3. It is considered that a higher content of vitamin C among vegetables is met only in red pepper.The sources of natural antioxidants 9 Brassica vegetables such as white cabbage. in the amount – in dependence on gender – to a few dozen mg/100 g. Main polyphenol compounds of broccoli are quercetin 3-sophoroside of and kaempferol 3-soforoside [Price et al. chlorogenic. where particularly rich sources are: kale. POLYPHENOLS OF CEREALS AND LEGUMES The cereal grains and legumes are not very rich sources of antioxidant compounds – in practice only phenolic compounds can be found there. but thanks to high consumption they are their significant source in everyday diet. Anthocyanin pigments found in vegetables are acyl derivatives of cyanidin (red cabbage. Free kaempherol was present only in tomatoes and free isoramnetin in onion [Price et al. onion and lettuce with red leaves. Derivatives of quercetin were found also in lettuce [Romani et al. They can also be found in peel of radish. Chlorogenic acids in potatoes constitute 90% of all phenolic compounds. In the case of carrot. Marotti and Piccaglia 2002]. Plants of cabbage vegetables family contain also phenolic compounds. Anthocyanin pigments are found only in a few vegetables. Brassica vegetables contain also derivatives of hydroxycynnamic acid – caffeic. In red pepper. the amount of chlorogenic acid depends on vegetable colour – with the highest amount in carrot with purple colour. varieties with pink or violet coloured pulp are also cultivated. ferulic. radish and lettuce). caffeic acid and its derivatives were identified [Alasalvar et al. 2000. 1998]. and the lower – in yellow and white. aubergine and coloured potatoes. They give characteristic colour of red cabbage. broccoli and Brussels sprouts. 2001. two derivatives of quercetin. Free quercetin was determined in tomatoes and different kinds of onion. Chlorogenic acid is present also in aubergine and tomatoes. Kale contains a high amount of this ingredient. They contain vitamin C. 1997. broccoli sprouts. 2004].4-glucoside of quercetin consisting from 83 to 93% of total polyphenol amount [Price et al. the flawonoids group dominate among vegetable polyphenols. tree – luteolin and one – apigenin were found [Materska and Perucka 2005]. 1997. As regarding potatoes. Kale is a good source of carotenoides (17-34 mg/100 g). Stewart et al. tomatoes or spinach [Kurilich et al. Neochlorogenic acid is present in high amount in broccoli. kale. Over 20 compounds of quercetin and kaempferol were found in cabbage [Nielsen et al. but they are mentioned be- Technologia Alimentaria 7(1) 2008 . and synapic [Vallejo 2003] as well as flavonols. 2002]. kale or cauliflower are known for their pro-healthy properties which are inter alia caused by presence of antioxidant compounds in high amounts. 1999. pelargonidin (radish and potatoes) and delfinidin (aubergine) [Clifford 2000]. red onion. Marotti and Piccaglia 2002]. Other vegetables from this group contain smaller (even several times) amounts of these compounds. Kopsell et al.

Its basic function in organism is protection of thiol protein groups from oxidation. first of all). the ability of casein and whey proteins of milk to inhibit autooxidation of lipids was confirmed. and decide (with cholesterol) about their integrity.10 E. of which soybean is especially a rich source [Druż yńska and Klepacka 2004. In animal organism. and broad bean. In lipid tissue of animal organisms. Antioxidant activity of proteins from animal-derived products can be also connected with addition (in food technology) of concentrates and isolates gained from high-protein plants origin (legumes seeds) and animal origin (milk. In several studies. the higher amounts of these compounds were found in seeds of buckwheat. Catechins are present also in seeds of beans.. It is worth to add. Phenolic acids are present in two forms: ester and glycoside ones. carotenes and ksantophils and ubiquinone (coenzyme Q) are present. 1998]. Besides this compound. . peroxyl as well as hydroxyperoxide anion radical. are located mainly in 2-layer phospholipid structure of cellular membranes. Peterson et al. as well as non-enzymatic oxidation of lipids [Yamamoto et al. 2000]. among which α-tocopherol is dominant compound. 1998. next – in oats and rye. sinapic). vanillic and p-coumaric acids play important role. 2001]. Animals and humans can not synthetise carotenoids. but have only the ability to metabolise them. Main non-protein thiol compound of animal tissues is glutathione (GSH). are wide used in meat industry and they can inhibit reaction of lipid oxidation [Ulu 2004]. eggs) raw materials. Acta Sci. daidzein. acting as antioxidants. the presence of other polyphenols called avertramidin were recorded. ANTIOXIDATIVE PROPERTIES OF ANIMAL-DERIVED FOOD Important group of natural antioxidants in animal-derived food products are aminocompounds: aminoacids. Amarowicz and Troszyńska 2005]. they are also present in lipid tissue and blood lipoproteides (LDL and HDL) [Surai 2003]. Reduced form of glutathione is a scavenger of RFT. Tocopherols. classic example is reaction of carotene conversion to retinol (vitamin A). and ability to quench of singlet oxygen. In the case of oats. 2000]. They posses ability to scavenge of radicals such as hydroxyl. alcoxyl. and at least in wheat [Holasova et al. that glutathione and other reduced thiol compounds can regenerate oxidized α-tocopherol radical to vitamin E [Decker et al. carotenoids are located mainly in the liver. which contain (in dependence on variety) phenolic acids (ferulic. even though they are present in smaller amounts. and also isoflavons (genistein. Casein inhibits enzymatic. phenolic acids play important role. quercetin. scavenging of free radicals formed in biochemical processes of cells [Yamamoto et al. while rutin is the main polyphenol of buckwheat. and especially ferulic acid is dominating in grains (in wheat and rye. glycitein). Isolated soybean proteins. Decker et al. Sikora . cysteine). The chemical structure as well as concentration of these compounds influence their antioxidant activity. tannins and anthocyanins (coloured bean). Among polyphenols enclosed in cereal grains.. 2002. the compounds that show the activity of vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols). peptides and proteins. peas. The cereal grains are also a source of catechins. cause of these sources huge share in diet. because of their good functional properties. Proteins. Antioxidant activity of these compounds is connected mainly with aminoacids which possess thiol groups (metionine. Huge antioxidant activity have also preparations of albumin and globulin derived from seeds of legumes cultivated in Poland – bean. Pol.

5 g/24 hr. Waszkiewicz-Robak et al. The chemically most reactive phenolic compounds of beer are derivatives of flavan-3-ol [Walters et al. procyanidin prodelphinidin). A very good source of antioxidants is red wine. 2005]. Their content is quite diversified in dependence on gender. For a long time many plant spices have been a valuable additive to food. o. Average spices consumption in Europe is about 0. 2005. Above mentioned flavonols and procyanidins are present also in chocolate. It can be connected inter alia with the increase of popularity of various world corners cuisines: Oriental. but also in assuring longer shelf-life of food. from which chlorogenic acid is dominant. also quercetin and its glycosides are present. 2002. 1996. they consists 12-18% d. in Hindu cuisine. Generally. It was became fashionable to cultivate some spice plants in our gardens or pots at home [Hozyasz and Chełchowska. white chocolate – 70 mg of flavonoids/100 g) [Bonvehi and Coll 1997. that is on the kind of chocolate (dark chocolate – 170. In our country there is a long tradition of marjoram and cumin using to fatty and stodgy dishes. Gajewska and Myszkowska-Ryciak 2006]. Rupasinghe and Clegg 2007]. derivatives of flavan-3-ol (catechin.and p-coumaric. such as: coffee. Howard et al. flavonoglycosides.m.The sources of natural antioxidants BEVERAGES AND SPICES AS ANTIOXIDANTS’ SOURCES 11 The group of products which can supply high amounts of antioxidants are beverages. vanillic. about 60 of different spices are used. the activity of many seasonings. Main phenolic compounds present in tea are catechins. syringic). Technologia Alimentaria 7(1) 2008 . Droesti 2000. with their content depending on percentage share of cocoa. Antioxidants present in beer are mainly phenolic compounds which source is barley malt as well as hop. Mexican. Fik and Zawiślak 2004. ferulic. that contains many valuable fruit peel-derived polyphenols (resveratrol). North African or Mediterranean and wider availability of spices on our market. and about 20% – from hop. Suhaj 2006]. mainly spices is the effect of phenolic compounds content. caffeic. 2006. Phenolic compounds are present in huge amounts also in cocoa seeds. Procyanidins consist about 60% of them. chlorogenic. of seeds. epicatechin. The content of phenolic compounds in roasted coffee reaches 8%. In recent years in Poland a higher consumption of these products has been observed. Infusion from 5 g of milled roasted coffee can contain even about 140 mg of this compound. For example. but in Asia and North Africa it is many times higher. which bioavailability increase as the effect of technological process [Droesti 2000. playing not only taste forming role and giving smell features. Strong antioxidative properties show such spices as clove. It is calculated that 80% of beer phenols is derived from malt. 1997. gallic. red wine. cocoa. ginger. Sieliwanowicz 1998]. which can the responsible for possible acrid effect of this drink [Budryn and Nebesny 2005]. herbs and spices cannot be omitted. In significantly lover amount. beer as well as herbs and spices. and technology of raw material preservation. cinnamon. green tea contains more of these compounds than black or red tea and thanks to this it shows over 2-times higher antioxidant activity [Cao et al. To the most important phenolic compounds present in beer belong: phenolic acids (cinnamic. Hinneburg et al. Among the sources of phenolic compounds in food. In this range. tea.

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