Many people that pay attention to their nutrition know about antioxidants. Antioxidants are known as compounds that defend individuals’ bodies from harmful molecules found in foods and environments. This report will provide information about the aspects of antioxidants and the foods that contain them. Moreover, the significance of such compounds for human bodies will be discussed. Thus, this paper will answer two significant research questions: Are antioxidants present in commercial foods? Which food to eat so that your body gets enough antioxidants?
Significance of Antioxidants
To understand the significance of antioxidants and their effects on the human body, it is vital to define these compounds. Nimse and Pal report that antioxidants are molecules that inhibit free radical reactions and delay or minimize cellular damage (27986). Free radicals, in their turn, are unstable atoms affecting all major classes of biomolecules, especially fatty acids of cell membranes. The term ‘antioxidants’ is directly linked to so-called oxidative stress. Such a condition is the result of the body accumulating free radicals faster than it can metabolize them. As a result, cell structures, DNA, and body proteins can be harmed significantly.
Such damage may result in various chronic illnesses, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis (Nimse and Pal 27987; Wojtunik-Kulesza 39). Notably, not only humans are sensitive to oxidative stress; for instance, mammals may have decreased well-being due to this condition (Langille et al.). Thus, it is crucial to study the sources of antioxidants and the ways that they affect living beings.
It is vital to add that no individuals are fully protected against free radicals, as the presence of these atoms is associated with some of the basic body functions, including digestion. Moreover, there are factors affecting the production of free radicals, such as smoking, pollutants, and poor environmental state, and UV light (Lee et al. 574). Some examples of antioxidants include vitamins E and C as well as carotenoids, tannins, lignans, and flavonoids. They can be found in various types of foods; this point will be studied in detail below.
Where to Find Antioxidants
In general, many foods contain antioxidants, but some of them may be more present than others in particular types of foods. For instance, flavonoids are typically found in high concentrations in most natural foods, such as apples and grapes (Parsons). In contrast, other natural foods, such as oranges, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, and strawberries, are not rich in flavonoids but have vitamin C, which is also significant for individuals’ health. Thus, it is possible to find different types of antioxidants in vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and seafood.
The primary question this paper states, however, is whether it is possible to find antioxidants in commercial foods. Today, many people eat fast food regularly, which may cause significant problems in their well-being (Elkhateeb and Alrshidi 16). The reason for it is that regular consumption of commercial foods may lead to obesity, diabetes, and increased levels of cholesterol. These problems may occur because of the excessive formation of free radicals due to the high levels of fat, sodium, and calories in fast food (Elkhateeb and Alrshidi 16). Thus, it is possible to conclude that, in general, commercial foods are not good sources of antioxidants.
At the same time, it is vital to analyze the ingredients fast food may include. For instance, as mentioned above, antioxidants can be found in many vegetables and grains. Hamburgers usually contain tomatoes and onions that are rich in antioxidants. Moreover, bread rolls or buns are whole grains that contain antioxidants, too (Parsons). However, it is crucial to note that hamburgers and other types of fast food are made of other ingredients, too, including oils and sugar.
As a result, the percentage of antioxidants in commercial food may be lower compared to the level of components that may cause a higher formation of free radicals. Elkhateeb and Alrshidi report that individuals can eat fast food without a severe effect on their well-being, but its consumption should be controlled (18). Thus, although many types of fast food contain antioxidants, they are not the appropriate and primary sources for these significant compounds.
On the contrary, the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and other types of natural and fresh foods is necessary for ensuring that the body receives enough antioxidants. The key ones the human body needs are vitamins C and E, which can be found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, as well as citrus fruits (Elkhateeb and Alrshidi 18). Individuals should ensure that they include natural foods in all of their meals, following a balanced diet. This way, they can decrease the harm caused by free radicals.
The report answers the presented questions and concludes that commercial foods contain antioxidants, but their percentage is low. Moreover, fast food should not be used as a substitution for a healthy diet, as its consumption is harmful to the body. The foods individuals need to eat to support an appropriate level of antioxidants include vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy. The primary antioxidants the human body needs are vitamins C and E.
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Nimse, Satish Balasaheb, and Dilipkumar Pal. “Free Radicals, Natural Antioxidants, and Their Reaction Mechanisms.” RSC Advances, vol. 5, no. 35, 2015, pp. 27986-28006.
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