Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of attention toward the field of free radical chemistry. Free radicals reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species are generated by our body by various endogenous systems, exposure to different physiochemical conditions or pathological states. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body's ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases. Hence application of external source of antioxidants can assist in coping this oxidative stress. Synthetic antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole have recently been reported to be dangerous for human health. Thus, the search for effective, nontoxic natural compounds with antioxidative activity has been intensified in recent years. The present review provides a brief overview on oxidative stress mediated cellular damages and role of dietary antioxidants as functional foods in the management of human diseases.
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