Scientifically takingguilt out guilty pleasures

Scientifically taking the guilt out of guilty pleasures

2:26 AM, 26th August 2011
Scientifically taking the guilt out of guilty pleasures
Dr Aaron Micallef has designed new compounds that mimic the activity of antioxidants found in wine and chocolate.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: Red wine and chocolate are part of the working week for Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Researcher, Dr Aaron Micallef.

More specifically, Dr Micallef has designed and prepared new compounds that mimic the activity of antioxidants found in wine and chocolate. He hopes the compounds can promote the body’s natural antioxidant defences, neutralise damaging free radicals in the body and fight the onset of diseases associated with free radical damage, such as heart disease and arthritis.

To mark National Science Week, Dr Micallef will explain the research as part of a wine and chocolate tasting event at the Queensland Museum at South Bank on August 26.

He will talk about antioxidants, wine and chocolate; their relationship to his AIBN research and his role as a free radical chemist and associate investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology.

“I want people to realise there are links between chemistry, chemical research, the foods we eat and our health,” said Dr Michallef.

“Free radicals are implicated in many processes in the body, such as inflammation, ageing and cancer. They can be very damaging, but we are conducting research into how we can use antioxidants to neutralise free radicals and prevent this damage,” he said.

“Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help mop up damaging free radicals in the body. It means we are taking the guilt out of pleasures such as red wine and chocolate.”

Reactive free radicals are believed to be the cause of the accumulated damage in cells that contributes to ageing and degenerative diseases. Antioxidants can protect against this damage, either neutralising the radicals directly or promoting the body’s natural antioxidant defences.

Dr Micallef said his synthetic compounds would have potential applications in fighting disease if they were found to mimic the protective properties of the antioxidants found in red wine and chocolate.

© University of Queensland News

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