Antioxidants Definition
History and Health Benefits..

Antioxidants definition

Are a broad group of compounds that destroy single oxygen molecules, also called free radicals, in the body, thereby protecting against oxidation damage to cells.

Antioxidants by Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers.

Something added to a product to prevent or delay its deterioration by the oxygen in air.

Antioxidants by The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary:

  • A chemical compound or substance that inhibits oxidation.
  • A substance, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, or beta-carotene, thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.

Another antioxidants definition by Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, 3 ed.

A substance that in small amount will inhibit the oxidation of other compounds. Used in feeds and foods to prevent rancidification of polyunsaturated fats.

History of the term antioxidants.

Antioxidants definition was originally used to refer specifically to a chemical that prevented the consumption of oxygen. In the late 19th and early 20th century, extensive study was devoted to the uses of antioxidants in important industrial processes, such as the prevention of metal corrosion, the vulcanization of rubber, and the polymerization of fuels in the fouling of internal combustion engines.

Early research on the role of antioxidants in biology focused on their use in preventing the oxidation of unsaturated fats, which is the cause of rancidity. Antioxidant activity could be measured simply by placing the fat in a closed container with oxygen and measuring the rate of oxygen consumption.

However, it was the identification of vitamins A, C, and E as antioxidants that revolutionized the field and led to the realization of the importance of antioxidants in biochemistry of living organisms that ed to the identification of antioxidants as reducing agents that prevent oxidation reactions, often by scavenging reactive oxygen species before they can damage cells.

Health Benefits:

They are essential to good health and are found naturally in a wide variety of foods and plants, including many fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants have anti-aging effect because they are scavengers of free radicals (and other reactive oxygen species) which are linked with human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and with aging.

Free radicals are also associated with other aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Antioxidants benefit your health by cleaning free radicals out of your bloodstream. They have a range of health benefits; some studies have shown that antioxidants reduce the signs of aging by minimizing wrinkles and preserving the texture of the skin. They can even protect your skin from sun damage, and reduce the incidence of sunburn.

According to a new study completed at the University of Navarra in Spain. Overweight people who consume more fruit may lower their risk of heart problems associated with obesity.

Researchers also believe antioxidants in fruit, such as vitamin C and E, are responsible for the lower amount of free radicals found in the women. They also suggest the high fiber content in fruit may contribute to reduced cholesterol and thus, a lower risk of heart-related problems.

The authors suggest that fruit should be considered an important element of a low-calorie diet. In addition to lowering weight, it may also help protect individuals from cardiovascular illnesses associated with obesity. The study was published in an article in the journal Nutrition.

Although antioxidants aren't proven to treat any conditions, research has shown that antioxidants have also been implicated in the prevention of a number of degenerative, age-related disease,

Different antioxidants benefit different parts of the body. For instance, the beta carotene found in carrots can help maintain eye health. The lycopene found in tomatoes can contribute to prostate health. The flavonoids found in tea, cocoa and chocolate are good for your heart, while the proanthocyanidins found in cranberries and apples can aid in the maintenance of the urinary tract.

Where We Can Find Antioxidants

Antioxidants are present in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains. Fruits and veggies that have bright, distinctive colors, such as red tomatoes, purple blueberries, yellow corn and orange carrots, are rich in antioxidants.

A number of the vitamins, minerals and compounds in food have antioxidant properties. Vitamins A, C and E are among the most well known, as are beta-carotene, lycopene and selenium.

Some foods that contain large amounts of antioxidants include:

  • Carrots
  • Green leafy vegetables like kale, collards and spinach
  • Berries, cherries and grapes
  • Green tea
  • Citrus fruits
  • Apples and pears

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