Antioxidants are found on in some foods that neutralize free radicals. These include the nutrient antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals like copper, zinc, and selenium. Other dietary food compounds like phytochemicals in plants and zoochemicals from animal products also have greater antioxidants than either vitamins or minerals.
During the process of oxidation of the food in the body, cell membranes and other structures like proteins, lipids, and DNA get damage. When oxygen is metabolized, it creates free radicals that have tendency of taking electron from other molecules. Although the body needs such free vradicals to function properly and can also adjust with some of them, this tendency causes damage to our cells if there is an overload in their production in our body. Mainly the diseases they can trigger are heart diseases, liver diseases, and some cancers. Oxidation can also be brought by stress, smoking habits, alcohol, sunlight, pollution and other factors.
The degenerative impacts of free radicals are –
- Inflammation of the joints (arthritis)
- Damage to nerve cells, resulting in Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Speeding up the ageing process.
- Risk of coronary heart ailments, as free radicals encourage low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
- Some cancers, etc.