Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The mystery of antioxidants...

A young lady just rang to ask if I was interested in antioxidants.

“Passionately,” I said, and she told me she was happy to hear it, because she
wanted to tell me about the antioxidants in Nescafé.

“We hear a lot about the benefits of antioxidants these days,” I ruminated, “but there is nobody speaking up for the oxidants. We would, after all, have no need for antioxidants if there were no oxidants, an indisputable fact for which I have always felt that oxidants never receive the credit they deserve.”

“Be that as it may,” she said, “most people do not realise the antioxidant
benefit of coffee in general and Nescafé in particular and...”

But before she could continue, I found myself interrupting somewhat ungallantly, with a thought that had suddenly occurred to me: “If coffee contains antioxidants, does instant coffee contain instant antioxidants?” I asked. “If it doesn’t, I fear it could lead to you making and drinking the coffee before the antioxidants arrive, leaving them turning up late when the cup is empty and being flushed away with the washing up.”

“I’m sure that doesn’t happen,” she said. “In fact, the benefits of the
antioxidants in Nescafé...”

But my mind was becoming absorbed with a topic I had introduced earlier. “It’s a bit like antibiotics and probiotics, I suppose,” I said.

“I remember a couple of years ago when several probiotic foods appeared on the market, the antibiotics were furious. ‘We are performing a valuable function fighting disease’, they said, ‘and our biotic opponents ought not to be allowed to call in a mercenary force of probiotics to support them.’

Outright war was only averted when a probiotic spokesorganism came up with
a peace plan involving the partition of the biotic empire into separate regions
of influence for the antibiotic and probiotic movements.

Of course, if the antioxidants were to join forces with the antibiotics, it could force the oxidants into an alliance with the probiotics, leading to a drastic increase in tension.”

“I hadn’t thought of it like that,” my caller replied, “but I am sure that drinking a cup of...”

“And where, we must ask ourselves,” I interrupted again, “do the antiperspirants fit into all this?

Given the potential power of the antibiotic and antioxidant alliance, they would find it hard not to sign up for a grand, anti-everything league, finally giving up the position of neutrality they have held for so long, thanks to there being nobody specifically marketing perspirants as such.

Come to think of it, with the antibiotic and antioxidant alliance calling themselves the AAA, as they surely will, this seems bound to drive the other AAA, the Amateur Athletic Association, into the arms of the probiotics and oxidants, and since athletics is a highly effective way of producing perspiration, that makes it even more likely the antiperspirants will join the other antis.

Very worrying. I think “I need a cup of coffee.”

“Antioxidant Nescafé?” she offered.

“No,” I said: “I hate instant coffee.” And we left it at that.