While older people have been found to be skimping on fruits and vegetables by some scientific surveys, new research suggests they may be missing out on more nutrients than originally believed.
A Spanish researcher working at the University of Norwich has been analyzing polyphenols, the chemicals in fruits that are thought to limit some of the effects of aging and inflammatory conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Sara Arranz found that current measuring techniques have been inadequate in describing the levels of polyphenols in food, since the compounds that can be extracted are outnumbered five to one by those that remain within the skins of apples, nectarines and peaches.
While they have not previously been examined by scientists, Arranz and her team say that they can be used by the colons of older people to produce antioxidants within the body.
"These polyphenols are major constituents of the human diet with important health properties," notes co-researcher Dr Fulgencio Saura-Calixto.
"To consider them in nutritional and epidemiological research may be useful for a better understanding of the effects of plant foods in health."