newera
Health
10 months ago
Oct 12, 2021


What Are Antioxidants, And Why Do They Matter?

What_Are_Antioxidants,_And_Why_Do_They_Matter
Certainly, the things that are keeping us alive can become deadly eventually. If you consider oxygen, we can not be able to breathe or stay alive without it. But the aging process of cells is caused by oxygen and other things. Similarly, if you want to stay well and fit

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Certainly, the things that are keeping us alive can become deadly eventually. If you consider oxygen, we can not be able to breathe or stay alive without it. But the aging process of cells is caused by oxygen and other things. Similarly, if you want to stay well and fit in your life, you need to eat healthily and consume super-foods and supplements. With this in mind, today, we discuss a topic that’s not just important but will help to stay alive for longer! The chemical compound named Antioxidants is our theme for now!

What is an antioxidant chemical?

Antioxidants are natural or artificial substances that may delay or stop some cell damage varieties by reducing oxidative stress. These chemical compounds can prevent or slow down the deterioration of cells caused by free radicals.

The free radicals are unstable molecules and byproducts produced as a response to natural and different situations. The free radicals can cause various diseases like- cancer, heart disease, and many more. For example, if you smoke or are exposed to radiation, your body will create countermeasures as molecules.

Although, if you know the examples of antioxidants, you will be shocked. They are- vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, uric acid, and beta-carotene. Now you know, when you are eating fresh foods and fruits, you will administer antioxidant chemicals without really knowing.

Fruits and Vegetables, good sources of antioxidants. Eating home-cooked food that has fruits and vegetables is healthful for all as a source of antioxidants. Although artificial Antioxidants are similarly effective; yet why bother with artificial things when you can have them from natural sources.

Classification of Antioxidants

Antioxidants can be categorized into two groups based on the enzymatic properties1.

  1. Enzymatic antioxidants: They work via disintegrating and eliminating free radicals. It has two sub-classes.
  2. Primary antioxidants: Glutathione peroxidase, SOD, and catalase.
  3. Secondary enzymes: Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, Glutathione reductase.
  4. Non-Enzymatic antioxidants: They work via obstructing the free radical chain reactions. It also has two sub-classes.
  5. Endogenous Antioxidant: Catalase, superoxide dismutase.
  6. Exogenous Antioxidant: Vitamin E, carotenoids

Classification of Antioxidants

 

Best Antioxidant Herbs and Spices

Clove

Clove has the highest average antioxidant compared with any other spices tested. It can add warmth to cooked fruits and is also a component of Indian flavor profiles like chai and garam masala.

Sumac

Sumac is rich in several components of antioxidants. It has many chemical elements, such as anthocyanins, tannins, and flavonoids, with potent antioxidant activity.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice derived from the root bark of plants known as Cinnamomum scientifically. Potent antioxidants like polyphenols pack cinnamon. 

Sorghum

The studies performed at the University of Georgia discovered a better antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property for the kinds of sorghum bran than for possibly the best foods, such as pomegranates and blackberries.

Oregano

In many cuisines worldwide, Oregano is regarded as an essential herb. It provides a strong taste and a sense of gentle sweetness and spiciness to the meals.

Turmeric

The major active element in turmeric is curcumin. It is an extremely potent antioxidant with high anti-inflammatory properties.

Acai berry

Acai berries are round-shaped fruits collected from acai palm trees from the Amazon forest. Their color is dark purple and has a sweet taste. They are converted into a paste before eating and are used to flavor ice creams and jelly beans. They are good for overall health because of their high antioxidant benefits.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is prepared by crushing the beans of cocoa and is popular for its role in the production of chocolate. It has many health benefits, such as improved heart rate, decreased inflammation, controls of weight. Cocoa powder is also considered good for healthy skin and teeth.

Cumin seed

Cumin is a powerful spice made from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant. It has an earthy and warm flavor with a little bitter and a little sweet taste. It boosts immunity and also fights various types of fungal and bacterial infections.

Parsley

Parsley has a bitter and mild flavor, and its color is bright green. It is a versatile herb rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Parsley is known to the most potent and disease-fighting solid plant.

Basil

Sweet basil is a herb in the mint family and adds fantastic flavor to your recipes plus, it has nutritional benefits. Basil has antioxidants that fight free radicals. Individuals with high blood pressure are suggested to consume less salt and include a herb like basil in their recipes for a good flavor.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolates are made from the seeds of cacao trees and full of excellent nutrients that can affect your health positively. Chocolates lower the risk of heart disease and improve health.

Curry powder

Curry powder is a combination of different spices with a dark golden shade and a complex flavor. This amazing powder is versatile and can add flavor to your recipes. It has many nutritional benefits. It helps relieve oxidative stress and improve the health of your heart.

Maqui berry

Maqui berry is considered a superfruit as it is rich in potent antioxidants. It improves inflammation and helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Sage

Sage has a powerful aroma and an earthy type flavor, so this herb is used in small amounts. According to some research, Sage has some health benefits such as it has antimicrobial properties and increases alertness.

Mustard seed

Mustard seeds are produced by Brassica nigra. They are mainly added to the oil to give the flavor. They come in brown, black and yellow colors. These seeds are high in fiber, minerals, and Omega-3s. They have a sharp and spicy flavor. And they are primarily used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. 

Ginger

Ginger herb is known to be the most common food around the world. Consuming ginger is suitable for your wellness and health because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking ginger water can be good for you to stay hydrated, which is very good for your overall health.

Black pepper 

Black pepper is the king of flavors in all spices. It helps you to lose weight fast and also helps to reduce inflammation. It has excellent anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, which is why this spice is known to be the king of herbs.

Thyme

Thyme is a herb with medicinal, dietary, and ornamental uses. And thyme oil is considered as powerful an insect repellent and antiseptic. It has natural compounds well-known as biocides. This herb can also treat sore throat, stomach ache, diarrhea, and arthritis.

Marjoram

Marjoram is known as an aromatic herb comparable to Oregano. It has a mild taste and is mainly used to garnish soups, salads, and meat dishes. It has been used to cure contaminations, digestive problems, and painful periods.

Goji berries

Goji berries are cute little red fruit with powerful antioxidants and medicinal properties. They have a delicious and yummy flavor. These berries are high in nutrients plus they also help provide good vision and a healthy immune system.

Elderberries

Elderberries are collected from the Sambucus tree and are most famous for their medicinal properties in the world. They are used to treat rheumatism and fever and are also high in antioxidants which are suitable for overall health.

Peppermint 

Peppermint is an aromatic herb that is used in tea and other foods. It is naturally sweet and tasty.

Peppermint benefits your health in different ways, such as it improves focus, digestion, and freshens your breath. It also enhances clogged airways and headaches.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They fight against oxidative damage in your body and also help to prevent various cancers. They are higher in antioxidants and have significant health benefits.

Cardamom

Cardamom is a spice commonly used in the world. It is considered the third most expensive spice all over the world.

Cardamom has a sweet and strong flavor. It has a lot of antiemetic, diuretic, and antioxidant properties.

What is the use of it?

If you consider vitamin c and e, you do have some ideas regarding their needs. But being Antioxidants chemicals, they show some different effects and uses.

Medical uses

  1. Antioxidants are applied as an anti-cancer agent2 in a therapeutic session. The Lanthanides work as anti-cancer agents and have promising results.
  2. Next, Antioxidants treatment is effective against acute central nervous system injury. So, it’s critical in the therapy of fried Reich ataxia. It is a unique continuous condition that induces nervous system damage. 
  3. Antioxidants that are considered as reducing agents can additionally serve as pro-oxidants.

In the Food industry

Antioxidants are used as food additives to improve the prevention of food deterioration. 

In the cosmetics industry

Antioxidants are also used to manufacture fat-based cosmetics like- lipstick and moisturizers to obstruct rancidity.

Industrial uses

  1. Antioxidants are often used in industrial products. Typical use is as stabilizers in lubricants and fuels to prevent oxidation. Furthermore, in gasoline, the Antioxidant chemical will prevent polymerization. 
  2. Antioxidant polymer stabilizers are popularly applied to stop the degradation of polymers like- plastics, adhesives, and rubbers. Without the polymer stabilizer, it will waste flexibility and strength in these products.

How it works

As mentioned earlier, Antioxidants prevent the process of oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. For that, the antioxidants become oxidized particles. There are two processes for this action.

1.Chain-breaking

When a free radical takes or releases an electron, another molecule is developed. That molecule then loops around and performs the same action to a third molecule. This chain reaction leads to more unstable molecule generation.

The process remains till the termination state occurs. – Now, the free radical is considered stabilized. The byproduct, aka the chain-breaking antioxidant, turns into a harmless product or keeps the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene vitamin characteristics.

2.Preventive

Different Antioxidant enzymes or chemicals like- glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, or catalase prevents oxidation by decreasing the frequency of the chain initiation. These chemicals can also stop oxidation by sustaining other metal radical’s transitions like- iron or copper

Side Effects

Certainly, being a part of drugs or a potential chemical, the Antioxidants may not show side effects to all users. But these are reported side effects throughout the world by medical practitioners. 

  1. Some Antioxidants like vitamin E or beta-carotene can create serious adverse effects when administered in large doses.
  2. Similarly, any High-dose antioxidant supplements can result in harmful. At high concentrations, antioxidants might display critical reactions. 
  3. Some antioxidant supplements can interact with some medications. Never use them while you have some prescribed medications without consulting your doctor.
  4. Do not use antioxidant supplements to substitute a healthful diet or standard medicines. If you are doing so, then you will be at great risk.
  5. In some cases, the antioxidant will increase the risk factor for some cancers.
  6. During pregnancy, it’s not recommended to administer antioxidant drugs without consulting a physician. It may cause congenital disabilities.
  7. Consuming antioxidants can cause allergic reactions too. Do not use antioxidant drugs during breastfeeding.
  8. On rare occasions, having antioxidants can result in an upset stomach, severe diarrhea, constipation, numbness and tingling, muscle weakness, etc.

Relation to diet

Indeed, a specific amount of antioxidant vitamins3 is required in the diet for good health. Yet, there is still substantial discussion needed on whether antioxidant-rich supplements and foods show anti-disease activity.

Furthermore, if they are helpful to carry a healthy life, it is still unknown which ones are beneficial in the diet, including the available dose. Some scholars oppose the hypothesis that antioxidants could counter chronic diseases, including some claim that the data is not proven and misled. For example, a chemical named Polyphenols displays distinguished antioxidant properties in vitro, yet it exhibits unfamiliar antioxidant activity in vivo.

Conclusion

The researchers and scientists are working on different antioxidant chemicals for several years, and we have promising results from them. The research shows that consuming larger volumes of natural antioxidant-rich foods might benefit and shield against diseases. For this reason, antioxidant supplements are selling in the market like hotcakes. But we have to remember, every chemical can have an adverse effect eventually.

Likewise, the antioxidant is not so different. Over-use or overdose of any drugs will lead to potential risk, and we already discussed that here. Those who ate natural foods, fruits, and vegetables had lower chances of several diseases.

Eating fast-foods or over-the-counter drugs and supplements are not beneficial for health. If you follow good conduct in your life, eat properly, and consult physicians in any unwanted event, you will remain healthy and survive longer!

 

 

Reference

  1. Enzymatic properties: Retrieved from the wikipedia.org website.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant#Relation_to_diet

  1. anti-cancer agent: Retrieved from the nccih.nih.gov website.

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth

  1. antioxidant vitamins: Retrieved from webmd.com website.

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1296/antioxidants

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