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Antioxidant activities of aqueous extracts of selected plants

Free radical reactions occur in the human body and food systems. Free radicals, in the form of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, are an integral part of normal physiology. An over-production of these reactive species can occur, due to oxidative stress brought about by the imbalance of the bodily antioxidant defense system and free radical formation. These reactive species can react with biomolecules, causing cellular injury and death. This may lead to the development of chronic diseases such as cancers and those that involve the cardio- and cerebrovascular systems. The consumption of fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants has been found to offer protection against these diseases. Dietary antioxidants can augment cellular defences and help to prevent oxidative damage to cellular components.