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All You Need To Know About: Antioxidants Debunked

18 July 2019 by Food&HotelAsia

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From their reputed ability to prevent and cure cancer to skincare benefits, antioxidants are slated to be the next big food trend. However, if you don’t understand why so many have jumped on this bandwagon in the recent years, here’s what you need to know about antioxidants.  

Everyone knows about the benefits of antioxidants, from anti-aging skincare effects to cancer prevention. They are also known to help fight against free radicals present in the human body which damages DNA and cell membranes that are also known to trigger a myriad of illnesses. 

Besides just making appearances in last year’s superfood trend like the acai bowl that exploded all over social media, antioxidants are gaining popularity as a natural way to extend shelf life of products such as processed meat. Synthetic antioxidants like TBHQ, BHT and others are starting to make its way for natural antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and rosemary extract. It is said that synthetic food antioxidants degrade the nutritional value of the food products it is used on, as it can react with other useful molecules such as nitric oxide (NO) that would produce highly reactive secondary radicals that can easily damage cell membranes and may even cause illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, ED and more. 

On the other hand, natural antioxidants, due to their high stability and low volatility, help maintain the level of nutrients and functionality such that the food’s texture, colour and taste does not change as much. In fact, chemical properties of some antioxidants can donate electrons to all water soluble molecules in the body system which helps re-charge or recycle them when they are compromised by oxidation. The leftover antioxidant molecule is then either re-charged by accepting another electron or would then be used in building material say, for Vitamin C, collagen and purposes of tissue repair, thus making natural antioxidants so much more appealing than its synthetic counterparts. The demand for natural antioxidants has seen a gradual increase, with the Vitamin E antioxidants market anticipated to reach US$350 million in sales. When used in bakery products, alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid found in some natural antioxidants help delay the onset of rancidity and preserves flavour for a longer period of time. With this effectiveness in enhancing shelf life of bakery goods, global bakery product market are set to gain up to 4.5 per cent in forecast.

Now that you have learnt the science behind antioxidants, maybe the next time you grab one of those readily available synthetic ones, take a pause and consider what benefits you will be missing out on, and you just might make the switch to the natural side – naturally.

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