Research suggests that vegetables may produce varying levels of antioxidants depending on the ambient light conditions.
A study has discovered that the environment in which vegetables are stored after harvesting may affect their levels of health-promoting antioxidants.
Researchers at Rice University and the University of California, Davis, found they were able to use controlled lighting to persuade vegetables to produce more antioxidants.
Lead researcher Dr Janet Braam, whose findings are published in the journal Current Biology, explained: "Vegetables and fruits don't die the moment they are harvested.
"They respond to their environment for days, and we found we could use light to coax them to make more cancer-fighting antioxidants at certain times of day."
The team conducted experiments on a range of produce, including cabbage, carrots, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes and blueberries, and found they were able to alter the circadian rhythms of all of them.
In the case of cabbage, they succeeded in coaxing the leaves to increase production of a particular antioxidant with anti-cancer properties at certain times of day.
The findings suggest that by artificially manipulating the day-night conditions that vegetables are kept in after they have been harvested, it may be possible to boost their levels of antioxidants and make them even more beneficial for health.
However, the study also raises the possibility that the vegetables we eat may contain fewer antioxidants than expected if they have been stored in suboptimal conditions.
With many consumers already failing to eat the recommended five daily portions of different fruits and vegetables, this means some people may be woefully short on certain health-enhancing antioxidants.
One way to ensure a plentiful supply of antioxidants could be to take a high-quality antioxidant food supplement, such as AlphaGuard Plus.
While there are many antioxidant supplements to choose from, this stands out as a particularly high-quality product thanks to its combination of many of the most effective antioxidant nutrients and complexes.
Most supplements contain high doses of a handful of antioxidants, but the combined benefit of the numerous extracts included in AlphaGuard Plus far exceeds that of any of the individual components on their own.
It really is a superlative antioxidant food supplement that boosts levels of many nutrients that are missing or in short supply in our diet.