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NUTRIENTS - Assignment Example

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Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms containing unpaired electrons (namely the superoxide anion, hydroxyl free radical and hydrogen…
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Download file to see previous pages m other bio-molecules present in the cellular structures like the cell membrane and DNA, leading to their destruction through oxidative damage (Knight, 1998).
The important antioxidant vitamins are vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E while the important antioxidant minerals are Selenium, Zinc, Manganese and Copper. These vitamins and minerals are an integral part of the free radicals scavenging enzyme system. The four significant antioxidant enzymes that neutralize the free radicals are superoxide dismutase, catalase, methionine reductase and glutathione peroxidase.
Most minerals and vitamins might not be effective alone in scavenging free radicals, but can act as effective antioxidants in a synchronized manner. Major sources of antioxidant vitamins and minerals are fish oils, avocados, pomegranate, banana, raspberries, mango, spirulina and pumpkin. Most nuts and seeds also serve as a major source of antioxidant minerals (Benzie, 2003).
The oxygen free radicals are neutralized by vitamins and minerals in a concerted way. Free radicals are formed due to many reasons either by cleaving water molecules into the hydroxyl free radical superoxide radicals and lipid peroxides by the action of ionizing radiations, and toxic pollutants. The fat molecules are broken down to liberate the reactive fatty acid peroxy radical. The free radicals have one unpaired electron in outermost valence shell, so in order to become stabilized it can accept protons from other bio-molecules present in the cellular structures like the cell membrane and DNA, leading to their destruction through oxidative damage (Knight, 1998).
Free radicals can also be liberated from the diet we consume. A fat rich diet can increase free radical activity because fatty acids are readily oxidized to fatty acid free radicals. Cooking fats at high temperatures, mainly frying foods in oil, may produce large number of free radicals. Hence if the diet does not contain enough antioxidant vitamins and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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