Dried Plums Promote Increased Antioxidant Capacity in Smokers and Nonsmokers

JOURNAL: The FASEB Journal 29 (2015).

AUTHORS: Zawilski Alexandra, Nelson Stephanie, McGill Brittany, McIntosh Marian, Hong Mee Young, Shirin Hooshmand, Kern Mark

Smokers suffer from decreased antioxidant capacity, a risk factor for numerous chronic diseases. Consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as dried plums may increase antioxidant capacity and reduce disease risk. Nonsmokers (n=14) and smokers (n=6) between the ages of 18 and 45 years were recruited to participate in 2 randomly ordered trials in which they received 100 g of dried plums at one visit and a refined isocaloric control food (muffins) at another. Antioxidant capacity was examined in blood samples collected at baseline and 60, 90, and 120 minutes post-feeding. No significant differences in postprandial antioxidant capacity were detected over time when consuming the muffin snack in smokers or nonsmokers. Dried plum consumption elicited significant increases (p<.05) in antioxidant capacity in both groups together from baseline throughout all time points, with peak values achieved at 90 minutes. Dried plums promoted higher antioxidant capacity compared to muffins at all time points (p<.05). Smokers had significantly lower (p<.05) levels of antioxidant capacity at all time points compared to nonsmokers. Although antioxidant capacity remained elevated (p<0.05) at each time point in comparison to baseline, it decreased (p<0.05) from minutes 90 to 120 for smokers but continued to rise up to the 120 min time point for nonsmokers. Results suggest that dried plums are efficient in increasing antioxidant capacity for both smokers and nonsmokers and that they may be an effective way to reduce disease risk factors in smokers that are struggling with cessation. Future research should evaluate the use of dried plums as a chronic intervention to promote health of smokers. This study was funded by the California California Prune Board.