Antioxidants Explained in Simple Terms

What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if they are too high in your body. They are related to a variety of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Your body has its own antioxidant defense system to control free radicals.
However, antioxidants ingredients are also present in foods, especially in fruits, vegetables and other whole plant foods. Several vitamins, such as vitamins E and C, are effective antioxidants. Antioxidant preservatives also play a vital role in food production by extending shelf life.

How do free radicals work
Free radicals are constantly forming in your body. Without antioxidants, free radicals can quickly cause serious damage and eventually death. However, free radicals also have important functions vital to health. For example, your immune cells use free radicals to fight infection. Therefore, your body needs to maintain a certain balance between free radicals and antioxidants. When the number of free radicals exceeds that of antioxidants, it leads to a state called oxidative stress.
Prolonged oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body. Sometimes it even leads to cell death. DNA damage increases the risk of cancer, and some scientists speculate that it plays a key role in aging. Long-term oxidative stress can lead to an increased risk of negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.

While COVID accelerated the trend of adding Immunity Enhancement Ingredients to processed food, it is not exactly a new concept. Products with such characteristics—think probiotic yogurt products and gummy bears spiked with zinc and echinacea—have been growing in popularity for years. And food processors have grown in their understanding of how their products can improve the immune system.

Cnidium is a native Chinese plant that has also been identified in the US in Oregon. Cnidium is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been used for thousands of years, especially for dermatological conditions. It has been a common ingredient in Chinese lotions, creams, and ointments. A pro-erectile herb, Cindium monnieri extract and its main bioactive known as osthole appear to have mechanisms similar to Viagra in penile tissue and the hippocampus. The usable parts of cnidium are the fruit, seed, and whole plant. Active properties of cnidium are the coumarin derivatives including:
  • Osthol
  • Imperatorin
  • Isopimpinellin
  • Xanthotoxin
  • Bergapten

Additional coumarins have also been identified including cnidimonal, cnidimarin, and others. Cnidium is used orally for increasing sexual performance and libido, erectile dysfunction, infertility, body building, increasing energy, cancer, osteoporosis, and fungal and bacterial infections. Cnidium is used topically for pruritus, rashes, eczema, and ringworm.

Monk fruit is also called Luo Han Guo or swingle. It looks like a small gourd, and it grows on a vine.
Monk fruit is native to regions of Southeast Asia, including some parts of Thailand and China. Buddhist monks in the 13th century were the first to cultivate the fruit, which is the reason for its name.
Fresh monk fruit spoils rather quickly. Traditionally, people used dried monk fruit in herbal medicines.
Today, monk fruit is the most popular natural sweetener ingredients. The fruit extract contains substances called mogrosides, which are intensely sweet.
According to the International Food Information Council Foundation, monk fruit is around 150–200 times sweeter than sugar. Some manufacturers mix the extract with different sugars to balance out the intensity.
A variety of monk fruit sweeteners are available to purchase online.

Monk fruit pros
A monk fruit sweetener has several benefits when compared with sugar:
  • Zero calories. Monk fruit extract contains no calories, which is helpful for people on diets that restrict a person’s caloric intake.
  • Zero carbohydrates. The extract also contains no carbohydrates, which may make it ideal for people on low-carb or keto diets.
  • Zero sugar. There is no sugar in pure monk fruit extract, which means that consuming it will not affect blood sugar levels.
  • No harmful side effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source considers monk fruit sweeteners to be generally regarded as safe. There appears to be no evidence that monk fruit sweeteners cause harmful side effects.
  • Available in multiple forms. Monk fruit sweeteners are marketed as granules, powders, and liquids. Some products may be easy to carry and use throughout the day.

Nutraceutical ingredients find a wide variety of applications, such as functional food & beverages, animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. However, the inclusion of nutraceutical ingredients in food & beverage products, feed products, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products results in an increase in the prices of these end products. This, in turn, leads to lower adoption of such products, thereby stunting market growth. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the demand for healthy alternatives of consumables as consumers have become increasingly conscious about the correct diet. Nutraceutical ingredients, when added to any kind of food & beverage product, result in the formation of functional food & beverages, which, in some way, impart a health benefit.
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