Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Many Fruits and Vegetables Keep Their Antioxidants Longer Than Their Looks, Study Shows

Oct. 12, 2007 -- Fruits and vegetables that are a bit past their prime may still be packed with antioxidants.

That news appears in next week's edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The researchers aren't suggesting that anyone eat spoiled food. That's a food safety no-no.

But their findings show most fruits and vegetables don't lose their antioxidants when they start to look bad.

"In general, fruits and vegetables visually spoil before any significant antioxidant capacity loss occurs," write the scientists, who included Claire Kevers, PhD, of the Plant Biology Institute at Belgium's University of Liege.

Fruit and Vegetable Study

Kevers and colleagues visited a wholesale distribution center in Belgium and bought 29 different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Their shopping list included apples, apricots, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, carrots, celery, cherries, cucumbers, French beans, garlic, black grapes, green grapes, green peppers, kiwifruit, leeks, lemons, lettuce, melons, onions, oranges, pears, black plums, red peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and yellow peppers.

As soon as Kevers and colleagues got back to their lab, they measured the antioxidant levels of those fruits and vegetables.

Black grapes, strawberries, and red peppers were particularly high in antioxidants.

The researchers then stored the fruits and veggies at room temperature or at 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

That temperature is in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommendation to keep refrigerator temperatures at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Nasty but Nutritious?

The scientists stored the produce until they saw signs that the fruits and vegetables were spoiling. That took between seven days (for apricots) and 51 days (for carrots).

Kevers' team measured the antioxidant levels in the spoiled items.

For the most part, antioxidant levels rose or were stable in the fruits and vegetables during storage in the researchers' lab.

Broccoli, spinach, and bananas were among the few exceptions that had lower antioxidant levels when spoiled compared with immediately after being bought.

How did those foods taste? The researchers didn't go there. Their study was about measuring antioxidants, not tempting the taste buds.

WebMD Health News

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Healthy Recipe Finder