Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidation by chemically protecting other substances in food from getting oxidized. They prevent changes in colour or flavor caused by oxygen in the air. They also prevent sour taste and odour from increasing in fats and oils during storage and in the fatty phase of foods such as pickles and profitable cake mixes. Oxidation leads to degenerative changes in our body, i.e. contributes to the breakdown of the body cells. Free radicals are highly unbalanced and cause damage to DNA, carbohydrate and lipids and proteins in the body that leads to the development of heart disease and aging. Antioxidants are capable of neutralizing these highly reactive molecules in the body. Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and selenium, help protect against free radicals damage. They scavenge free radicals and protect body cells against. We need to consume much more than the recommended daily allowances (RDA) for antioxidant effect. Natural antioxidants are widely distributed in food and medicinal plants. These natural antioxidants, especially polyphenols and carotenoids, exhibit a wide range of biological effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-atherosclerosis and anticancer.
Natural antioxidants present in foods and other biological materials have attracted considerable interest because of their presumed safety and potential nutritional and therapeutic effects. During stress, oxygen free radicals have high reactivity and damaging activity towards macromolecules like proteins, DNA and lipids. Free radicals are constantly generated resulting in extensive damage to tissues and biomolecules leading to various disease conditions. So the medicinal plants with antioxidant property are employed as an alternative source of medicine to mitigate the diseases associated with oxidative stress.
By – Assistant Professor – Ms. Alfia Sagheer
Department – Biotechnology
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