AbstractThe in vitro efficacy of specific fruit extracts at inhibiting the initial stages of atherosclerosis was determined. Using the oxidation of human low-density lipoprotein (LDL) as an appropriate model it was found that when extracts from soft fruit were analysed on an equivalent Vitamin C (Vit. C) basis the ability to inhibit LDL oxidation was as follows: Rubus > Fragaria > Ribes > Vit. C (alone). However, when analogous experiments were performed on an equivalent phenolic-content basis content the ranking changed to Rubus > Ribes > Fragaria > Vit. C (alone). This showed that the phenolic compounds in soft fruit are more powerful and/or durable antioxidants than Vit. C. In addition, the variation in efficacy between extracts from Rubus, Ribes and Fragaria reflected the relative differences in phenolic composition and should, with further more detailed experiments, yield specific targets for plant breeders to produce nutritionally enhanced fruit.