Differently Colored Lettuces Have Antioxidants That Act at Different Speeds

Lettuce, one of the indispensable vegetables in the Mediterranean diet, is a food that greatly benefits health, mainly because it is rich in antioxidants. But not all lettuce varieties have the same antioxidant effect. According to a study led by the researcher Dr. Usue Pérez-López of the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Science and Technology (Universidad del Pais Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea or University of the Basque Country), the color of the leaves of these vegetables is an indicator of the speed at which their antioxidants act. So Lettuces with green leaves have antioxidants that react more slowly, while red-leaf lettuces have a faster effect. The results of this study have been set out in a paper titled "Phenolic Composition and Related Antioxidant Properties in Differently Colored Lettuces: A Study by Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Kinetics" published online on November 11, 2014 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Antioxidants provide long-term protection against the chain reactions of free radical processes, in other words, of the electron-charged highly reactive oxidizing molecules that are capable of causing cell damage and generating various diseases. Lettuce is rich in antioxidants, as it contains compounds like phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and vitamins A and C, among other antioxidants. To conduct this research, which began in 2011 and in which researchers of the UPV/EHU and the University of Pisa (Italy) have been participating, the compounds of three lettuce varieties were analyzed: the green-leaf “Batavia,” the semi-red-leaf “Marvel of Four Seasons,” and the red-leaf “Oak Leaf” (photo).
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