The biological tissues from which foods originate contain
multicomponent antioxidant systems that include
free radical scavengers, metal chelators, singlet oxygen
quenchers, and antioxidant enzymes. Our understanding
of how these endogenous antioxidants protect foods from
oxidation is still in its infancy. In addition, how factors
that can alter the activity of endogenous food antioxidants
(e.g., heat processing, irradiation, and genetic selection
of foods high in antioxidants) is still poorly understood.
Finally, research is continuing to show that natural food
antioxidants in the diet are very important in the modulation
of disease. Thus, finding mechanisms to increase
natural food antioxidants may be beneficial to both health
and food quality.