There is a large group of fruits that oxidize rapidly in contact with the air. This oxidation does not mean that the food is no longer suitable for consumption, but certain changes occur that must be taken into account. Let’s see what it means to eat rusty fruit.
There are organoleptic changes and also changes in the nutritional composition that can affect the quality of the product or its function. In this way, it is necessary to try to avoid the oxidation of fruits.
The first consequence of oxidation is the appearance of free radicals. This may be related to a worsening of human health, so its consumption must be limited. Although there is no clear evidence that the consumption of oxidized fruits is a risk factor for the development of certain diseases, it is better to avoid eating food in this state.
It should be noted that oxidation is a chain reaction. Once started, it continues to accelerate until complete oxidation of all susceptible substances. The fruits that are most prone to oxidation are apples and avocados.
Phenols in oxidized fruit
Contact with oxygen causes a decrease in the load of the fruit in phenolic compounds. These have an antioxidant capacity and free radical reduction. Therefore, the first consequence of eating oxidized fruit is that the benefits it brings to health are lower.
The phenolic compounds themselves come into contact with the polyphenol oxidase enzyme when cutting the fruit. At this time, the oxidation process that causes the brown pigmentation of the pulp begins.
Keep in mind that free radicals cause serious cellular effects and play an important role in degenerative diseases. Thus, It is important to maintain a high consumption of antioxidants, to prevent oxidative damage.
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Vitamins in oxidized fruit
On the other hand, oxidation of vitamins also occurs. In the case of vitamin C, oxidation leads to the passage of the molecule into an inactive form. This process cancels its effectiveness in processes related to human health.
Thus, it is concluded that the oxidation of fruits significantly reduces many of its beneficial characteristics. Loss of vitamin functionality is one of the most important, in addition to its antioxidant capacity.
How to avoid oxidation?
Fruits containing citric acid do not oxidize. Therefore, applying lemon juice to the pieces of a fruit that can be susceptible to oxidation, will reduce and delay this process.
On the other hand, there is the possibility of avoiding the contact of fruits with oxygen. Vacuum packaging or in plastic bags prevents the oxidation process very efficiently.
In industry, food is usually introduced in modified atmospheres with less oxygen to delay oxidation and increase product shelf life. Further, cooling slows this process. Thus, storing the fruit in the refrigerator is an excellent option to prevent oxidation.
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Another option is cooking
Oxidation is a process that can be prevented with heat treatment. In this way, the enzymes that cause this result are destroyed. Therefore, the cooking of the fruits and even the culinary preparations with them prevent them from undergoing oxidation and deteriorating their nutritional quality.
In this way, and for example, it is very common for oxidation to occur in a raw apple. However, when this apple is subjected to a thermal process in the oven, it lasts much longer without suffering damage to its pulp.
Eating oxidized fruit does not present a risk to human health, in principle. In any case, the beneficial properties that the fruit itself brings to health are reduced.
Thus, It is essential to apply good conservation methods to delay this process. Both cold, citrus juice or vacuum packaging are correct options to avoid oxidation.