Research Roundup

? Capers are exceptionally rich in naturally occurring antioxidant compounds. Researchers from Italy have determined that even the small amounts of these flavor enhancers typically used in Mediterranean dishes provide enough antioxidant flavonoids to confer health benefits. Capers, the unopened green flower buds of the Capparis spinosa bush, are typically preserved in a vinegar brine. The researchers found that extracts of capers increased available vitamin E and helped prevent the oxidation of fats, both of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.


Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, October 17, 2007.

? Flaxseed oil may help lower blood pressure, say Greek researchers, who studied 59 men for 12 weeks. Half the men were given eight grams (a little more than half a tablespoon) daily of flaxseed oil, a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The other half were given safflower oil. Those getting the flaxseed oil experienced a clinically significant 3% to 6% reduction in their blood pressure readings. The beneficial effect on blood pressure may be courtesy of prostaglandins, metabolites of ALA that regulate blood pressure as well as salt and water balance in the body.


European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2007.

? Tea does not interfere with iron absorption, as previously thought, according to French researchers who examined tea consumption habits and blood iron levels of 954 men and 1,639 women. They found that iron levels were not linked to intake of black, green or herbal tea, nor to tea strength or time of day consumed.


European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2007.

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