Drink Up: Fruity Cocktails as Health Food
Researchers have found that the presence of ethanol - an alcohol found in most common hard liquors, actually boosts the antioxidant levels of most fruit. Using common liquors like rum, vodka, tequila, and other spirits, they found a significant increase in antioxidant levels in both strawberries and blackberries when added together.
Antioxidants are chemicals composed of several organic substances, including vitamins A, C, E, the mineral selenium, and a group called carotenoids. Carotenoids are pigments that add color to fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are also known to attack free radicals which prevent heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Of all fruit, pigmented fruits are known to carry the greatest amount of antioxidants. Some of the most common pigmented fruits are cherries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. They contain compounds known as polyphenols and anthocyanins which are some of the strongest forms of antioxidants. Anthocyanins also have a unique chemical structure that makes them 6 to 8 times more potent than Vitamin C.
So the next time you are feeling guilty about having a drink, just order a strawberry margarita and let those antioxidants go to work!