A diet containing necessary amounts of micro and macronutrients is termed as a balanced diet. Macronutrients include lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. They are responsible for the integrity and strength of the human body. Micronutrients are various substances required in small amounts. They are essential for regulation of various processes. Vitamins and antioxidants are examples of important micronutrients. They are used as an accessory to carry out major processes.
Plant based foods are an essential component of a balanced diet. They are composed of a wide range of micro and macronutrients. Human body derives lipids, proteins from meat as well. Plants provide healthy fibre and protein. The oil extracted from seeds can be used in cooking. Left green vegetables and citrus fruits are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The latter play an important role in the inhibition of disease processes.
Antioxidants act by preventing a state of oxidative stress. Various processes are carried out in the body. Some are known to produce waste materials as a by-product. Large quantities of such waste material are excreted through kidneys. Small amounts are also expelled through defecation and sweating. The major waste material in the body is ammonia. It is converted to urea for excretion.
Different chemical reactions in the body produce harmful products. They are readily neutralized by various mechanisms under normal circumstances. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) is one such example. Under stressful conditions, the production of ROS is excessive. The free radicals can damage the cell membranes of various tissues. This is the most important mechanism in the development of chronic diseases. Generally, diets rich in plant based foods and antioxidants can prevent this process.
The prevalence of chronic diseases is increasing. Conventional treatment is directed at alleviating the symptoms and inhibiting progression. Research is ongoing to use preventive measures for treatment. It involves the use of antioxidants from medicinal plants.
L.E Okonko and his team studied the antioxidant activities of Ocimum gratissimum and Monodora myristica. The experiments were conducted using fifty female Wistar rats. Blood samples from the animals were subjected to biochemical analysis. The research concluded the protective effect of plant extracts against oxidative stress. The team published their findings in the Research Journal of Medicinal Plants.
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