Reports of many epidemiological studies suggest that diet rich in natural antioxidants and phyto-chemicals execute a protective role in many diseases. Generation of free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) during metabolism and other physiological activities beyond the antioxidant capacity of a biological system give risk to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress plays a role in many diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Dietary antioxidants substances when present in low concentration significantly delays or prevents the negative impact of oxidation. Apart from their role in health benefactors, antioxidants are added in food to prevent or delay oxidation of food, initiated by free radicals during their exposure to envoirmental factors such as temperature, light and air. Mostly synthetic antioxidant-Butylated Hydroxy Anisol (BHA) or Butlyhydroxy Toluene (BHT) are used by processors for improving the keeping quality of food or livestock feed. The main disadvantage with the synthetic antioxidants is the side effects after their consumption.
Natural antioxidants are considered ideal for safety point of view. They also provide natural defensive mechanism to body and improve immune system to combat many chronic age related degenerative disorders.
Many fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices are excellent source of phytochemicals and phenolic compounds having good anti-oxidant activity. Therefore they serve as natural food preservatives. Dietary sources like vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, etc. contain a variety of phytochemicals like phenols, flavanoids and other compounds possessing bioactive properties which may protect cellular system against oxidative damage. They function as health promoters.
A general consensus suggests that diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk for development of many chronic diseases, obesity, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, etc. Considering the protective effect of antioxidants and phytochemicals in dietary plants the present book has been written for the benefit of consumers. Various chapters of book contain the description about natural antioxidants, phytochemicals, polyphenolics present in fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices etc. and their bio-availability to consumers for health benefits. The book may be useful for the conscious consumer’s, food processors, students and scientists working in the area of nutrition, dietetics, food and feed science. It may serve as good reference material for practitioner of human health.
Dr. Divya, Senior Scientist, working at Central Avian Research Institute. She did her MSc & Ph.D. in organic chemistry. She started her teaching career as a lecturer in the subject of Organic Chemistry. She also taught courses of Biochemistry in an agriculture university. As a research scientist she worked on changes in Lipid profile of diabetic condition, removal of nimbidine and other limiting factors from neem seed cake. She worked on development of value added products for commercial use from natural resins and gums. Further, she worked on natural colour dye from seedlac and their addition in meat products to improve the colour of cooked meat and reduce the content of Nitrite responsible for producing carcinogenic compounds. She has developed a natural “Alta” from lac dye without any synthetic compound. Uses of Guar gum and Gum Arabic were explored as extenders, stabilizer and functional properties enhancer in minced poultry and goat meat products. Presently, she is pursuing research on natural antioxidants from plants sources to enhance food and feed quality.
Dr. Vijay Panday, Assistant Professor is working in Veterinary Biochemistry Division, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go Anusandhan Sansthan, Matura. He did his post graduation in Veterinary Bio-chemistry from Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner. He is teaching Vety. Biochemistry to graduate as well as postgraduate classes.