Volume 3, Issue 1      January-March, 2015


Ishtiaq Ahmed

Department of Surgery, Al-Nafees Medical College, Islamabad, Pakistan


Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals which are produced in body during metabolism.  They are neutralized in the body by antioxidants, preventing damage to cells. In other words, antioxidants can neutralize the process of oxidation and cellular damage which contributes to aging and disease. The body produces some of the antioxidants indigenously to neutralize the free radicals. To cater the need of other antioxidants, the body relies on exogenous sources like diet and they are known as dietary antioxidants. Vegetables, fruits, and grains are rich source of dietary antioxidants whereas some dietary antioxidants are also available as  supplements from market (Valko and Leibfritz, 2007; Bouayed and Bohn, 2010). Dietary antioxidants include vitamins (A, C and E), selenium, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene (Davis and Tsuji, 2012).


Studies conducted in laboratory and animals have proven that the increased levels of exogenous antioxidants are helpful in  preventing the damage caused by free radicals to body cell especially which are associated with cancer development. In human, different observational studies, including case–control and cohort studies also supported to some extent that the antioxidents are helpful in lowering the risk of cancer development or mortality from cancer in humans (Qiao and Dawsey, 2009; Wright and Virtamo, 2007). To delay the signs of aging and help prevent various disease processes like cancer, cardiac diseases and hypertension, use of foods rich in antioxidants is recommended on a regular basis. Oxidant rich foods such as berries, broccoli, garlic, tomato, red grapes, spinach, carrots, kiwi fruit, grape fruit, bran, corn, sea food, whole grains and green tea should be made a part of daily food (Shulman, 2015).


There is good evidence that taking a diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits is healthier and may be used as preventive medicine. People eating more vegetables and fruits have shown lower risks of several diseases; however, it is not clear whether these are related to the amount of antioxidants in vegetables and fruits, other components of these foods, other factors in people’s diets or other lifestyle choices (Valko and Leibfritz, 2007)


In our country, majority of these fruits and vegetables are not grown and also not part of the common man’s routine diet. It is recommended that public awareness should be increased regarding healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants. Also cultivation of such vegetables and fruits should be encouraged.

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