October 7, 2009

Antioxidants may help, but not by themselves

By Kelley Luckstein

First it was cranberries. Then blueberries. Then pomegranates. Then acai berries, whatever they are. Now there's more. ''Fight flu with the wonder fruit!!!'' says the ad by the New Zealand Blackcurrant Research Headquarters touting the antioxidant power of its dark-purple fruit. It's just one more antioxidant-rich ''superfood'' claimed to be a natural defense this flu season.


Reality, we're learning now, is more complicated.


Fruits packed with antioxidants are great, and good for us, health experts say. But they won't, by themselves, bulletproof our immune systems and save us from the H1N1 influenza virus. Or anything else.


Today's expert advice sounds discouragingly like what our mothers always told us.


''The bottom line is that to have good immunity, you have to eat a variety of foods,'' says Sherry Mahoney, director of nutrition for the Mayo Clinic, Florida. ''Chronic dieters who omit a food group omit needed vitamins and minerals.''


Miami Herald by Fred Tasker, 10/6/09

Tags: antioxidants, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Nutrition

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