A fruity cocktail may count as health food, U.S. and Thai researchers said Thursday.
Adding ethanol -- the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits -- boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries, the researchers found.
Any colored fruit might be made even more healthful with the addition of a splash of alcohol, they reported in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Dr. Korakot Chanjirakul and colleagues at Kasetsart University in Thailand and scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture stumbled upon their finding unexpectedly.
They were exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage. Treating the berries with alcohol increased antioxidant capacity and free-radical scavenging activity, they found.
Berries, for instance, contain compounds known as polyphenols and anthocyanins. People who eat more of those fruits and vegetables have a documented lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases.
The study did not address whether adding a little cocktail umbrella enhanced the effects.