Background: Increasing intakes of dietary antioxidants may help to reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals and provide protection against the progression of a number of chronic diseases. The present study aimed to estimate the antioxidant intake from fruits and vegetables in the UK and Scottish population and to examine consumption models to identify potential strategies to optimize antioxidant intake from these foods.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of cross-sectional data on fruit and vegetable intake in relation to antioxidant intake. Antioxidant capacity of individual fruits and vegetables was determined by the ferric reducing antioxidant power assay and data on quantity and frequency of consumption of fruits and vegetables determined from National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2000-2001.
Results: Mean antioxidant intake in UK population from fruits and vegetables varied by region. In the Scottish sample (n = 123), mean antioxidant intake was estimated at 680 +/- 689 micromol day(-1) with 92% subjects consuming <400 g of fruits and vegetables per day. Consumption data showed that strawberries, apples, orange citrus fruits, purple broccoli and cauliflower were the top five sources of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables in the Scottish population.
Conclusions: Appropriate selection of fruits and vegetables would help to achieve a higher antioxidant intake with the potential to produce significant health benefits.