This epidemiological study was to elicit information on the consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods among middle-aged adults in Enugu North local government area, Enugu State, Nigeria. Four hundred adult men and women aged 40-60 years were used for the study. Multiple- staged stratified random sampling technique was used for selection of the subjects used for the study. The respondents were randomly selected from 10 streets in the 5 urban zones making up the Enugu North local government area. Structured questionnaire with personal interview was the instrument used for data collection. Information were collected on the demographic characteristics, chronic diseases that affected the respondents, general knowledge of food nutrients, concepts of antioxidant, free radicals, sources and their health implications and on consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods. Also, data on the length of consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods and those factors that could hinder adequate consumption of antioxidant rich foods were elicited. The statistical package for socials sciences SPSS version 12 was used for the data analysis. Percentages, frequency, mean and standard deviation were employed for the data analysis. Analysis of data revealed that 74% of the respondents were females and 26% were males, 78.8% were married, 85% had higher education and 80% were civil servants. Revealed also was that 75% of the respondents were affected by varied chronic diseases. Altogether, 790 chronic illnesses were discovered as some respondents had more than one disease at a time. Females (76.7%) were with chronic illnesses while males had 23.3%. Subjects 40-50 years with chronic illnesses were 69.2%, while those 51-60 were 30.8%. The chronic diseases and their distribution were grouped into ten and they included 17.0% diabetes, 28.6% arthritis, 32.7% eye related problems, 30.0% heart, 19.8% brain and 19.9% cancer related problems. Uncovered also were, 9.1% fibroid, 17.5% prostatitis, 21.3% peptic ulcer/gastritis and 2.9% adult asthma/hiccoughs. Most of the respondents (85%) knew little or nothing about the nutrient contents of the various foods they consumed. The result also showed that the respondent’s concepts of antioxidants, free radicals, sources and health implications were below the mean value. The subjects were found to have consumed inadequate amounts of antioxidant rich foods. Majority groups (79.1%, 56.9%, 76.1%, 59.9%, 81.4% and 72.5%) of the respondents had negative consumption practice to intakes of the antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, grain/legumes, food additives, beverages, and snacks, respectively, for over 20 years. On the other hand, minority groups (21.9%, 43.1%, 23.9%, 40.1%, 18.6%, and 27.5%) had positive practice to consumption of the antioxidant rich food groups, respectively, with exception of the antioxidant rich animal products that had a high percentage of 80.5% consumption practice. Ten factors including ignorance, scarcity, cultural background, upbringing, foreign, fear of system intolerance, poor knowledge of preparation, poor colour acceptance, religious beliefs and time for preparation of such foods appeared to contribute to inadequate consumption of the essential nutrients. It is therefore concluded that many factors including poverty, lack of knowledge or ignorance of the immense nutritional importance of antioxidant foods were responsible for their inadequate consumption. Probably as a result of these, a high percentage of the respondents were affected by different chronic diseases.


Title page
List of tables
List of figures
List of appendix

1.0       Background of study
1.1       Statement of the problem
1.2       General objective of the problem
1.2.1    Specific objective of the problem
1.3       Significance of the study

2.1       Concept of bioxidants or free radicals
2.1.1    Factors responsible for free radical/bioxidant formation
2.1.2    Harmful roles of free radicals
2.1.3    Beneficial roles of free radicals/bioxidants
2.1.4    Mechanisms/ modes of free radicals or bioxidant reaction
2.2       Antioxidants
2.2.1    Concept of antioxidants and the health effects
2.2.2    Mechanisms/modes of reaction of antioxidants
2.2.3    Factors that affect antioxidant content of foods Effects of heat/cooking Samples of some changes in antioxidant level during cooking Effects of processing
2.3       General antioxidant nutrients and functions
2.3.1    The four most well studied antioxidant nutrients Vitamin C Vitamin E Caroteniods Selenium
2.4       General antioxidant rich foods
2.4.1    Antioxidant fruits Fruits in general Citrus fruits Berries
2.4.2    Antioxidant vegetables Tomatoes Spinach Bitter leaves Cruciferous vegetables Carrots
2.4.3    Grain/legumes Soy bean Coloured legumes/beans Coloured whole grains/cereals
2.4.4    Animal products Liver Fish
2.4.5    Food additives Garlic/onion Ginger Pepper Red/ palm oil
2.4.6    Beverages Tea Cocoa Red wines
2.4.7    Snack
2.5.0    Factors that militated against adequate consumption of antioxidant rich foods
2.5.1    Financial inadequacy
2.5.2    Background
2.5.3    General preference
2.5.4    Lack of knowledge
2.6.0    Ranking antioxidant rich foods
2.7.0    Antioxidants and age related diseases
2.7.1    Antioxidants and cancer related diseases
2.7.2    Antioxidants in prevention, treatment and cure of cancer related diseases
2.7.3    Antioxidant and cardiovascular diseases
2.7.4    Antioxidant in prevention, treatment and cure of heart diseases
2.7.5    Antioxidant and cataract diseases
2.7.6    Antioxidant in cataract prevention, treatment and cure
2.7.7    Antioxidant and peptic ulcer/gastritis
2.7.8    Antioxidant in prevention, treatment and cure of peptic ulcer/gastritis
2.7.9    Antioxidant and arthritic diseases
2.7.10  Antioxidant in prevention, treatment and cure of arthritis
2.7.11  Antioxidant and diabetes mellitus
2.7.12  Antioxidant in prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes

3.1       Study area
3.2       Population of the study
3.3       Design of the study
3.4       Method of data collection-Questionnaire
3.5       Validity of Instrument
3.6       Reliability of the Instrument
3.7       Sample size Determination
3.8       Sampling techniques
3.8.1    Selection stages
3.8.2    Breakdown of the selection stages
3.8.3    Method of data analysis

4.1       Personal data and socio economic characteristic of the subjects
4.2       Number of subjects afflicted by chronic diseases and their distribution
4.3       Respondent’s general knowledge of food nutrients sources and functions
4.4       Respondent’s knowledge of antioxidants, free radicals, sources and health implications
4.5       Consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods
4.5.1    Consumption pattern of fruits
4.5.2    Consumption pattern of vegetables
4.5.3    Consumption pattern of grains/legumes
4.5.4    Consumption pattern of animal products
4.5.5    Consumption pattern of food additives
4.10     Consumption pattern of beverages
4.11     Consumption pattern of snacks
4.2.0    Length of consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods in years
4.2.1    Length of consumption pattern of fruits
4.2.2    Length of consumption pattern of vegetables
4.2.3    Length of consumption pattern of grain/legumes
4.2.4    Length of consumption pattern of animal products
4.2.5    Length of consumption pattern of food additives
4.2.6    Length of consumption pattern of beverages
4.2.7    Length of consumption pattern of snacks
4.2.8    Factors that militated against adequate consumption of
            antioxidant rich foods

5.1       Background information on the respondents
5.2       Respondent’s general knowledge of food nutrients, sources and functions
5.3       Respondents knowledge of antioxidant, free radicals, sources and health implications
5.3.1    Antitioxidant  nutrients and functions
5.3.2    Fruit, vegetable and anima sources of antioxidant rich food
5.3.3    Knowledge of antioxidants, free radicals, their sources and health implications
5.3.4    Antioxidant nutrients in grain and legumes
5.3.5    Other food sources of antioxidant nutrients and functions
5.4       Consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods
5.4.1    Fruit consumption
5.4.2    Vegetable consumption
5.4.3    Grain/legume consumption
5.4.4    Animal product consumption
5.4.5    Food additive consumption
5.4.6    Beverage consumption
5.4.7    Antioxidant rich snack consumption
5.5       Length of consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods in years
5.5.1    Length of consumption pattern of fruits
5.5.2    Length of consumption pattern of vegetables
5.5.3    Length of consumption pattern of grain/legumes
5.5.4    Length of consumption pattern of animal products
5.5.5    Length of consumption pattern of food additives
5.5.6    Length of consumption pattern of beverages
5.5.7    Length of consumption pattern of snacks
5.6       Hindrances to adequate consumption of antioxidant rich foods
5.6.1    Financial inadequacy
5.6.2    Background
5.6.3    General preference
5.6.4    Lack of knowledge
            Suggestion for further studies


1.0                                                                      INTRODUCTION

Background of the study
Antioxidants are disease fighting compounds that nature puts in foods to help body cells and tissues stay healthy (Warmer, 2002). Turner (2002) documented that antioxidants are phyto chemicals produced by plants to fight against viruses, fungi and bacteria. They are essentially the chemical substances that mop up harmful free radicals (bioxidants) from body cells and tissues (Blomhoff, 2002). They are compounds that protect other body compounds from harmful effects of oxygen by themselves reacting with oxygen (Packer & Cadenas, 1995). Ene-Obong (2001) asserted that antioxidants are substances that counteract the actions of free radicals in the body and assist to prevent extreme broad spectrum of diseases
The collection of solar energy and its conversion into chemical energy in plants would not have been possible without a mechanism that effectively eliminates hazardous excess energy and prevents oxidative damage of the plant cells. Plants are high in numerous antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids, tocopherols, tocotrienols, glutathione, ascorbic acid, as well as enzymes with antioxidant activity. Animal cells have a much more limited de-novo antioxidant production (Blomhoff, 2005). Oxidative damage can accumulate in animal cells when the critical balance between generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or reactive nitrogen species (RNS) and antioxidant defense is unfavourable and compelling evidence demonstrates that such oxidative damage is involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases (Talalay, 2000). Free radicals damage healthy cells and are especially likely to attack the fats that provide structure to cell membrane surrounding the cells. The reactions are expected to provide progressive adverse damage that accumulates with age throughout the body and such damages are manifested as disease at certain age as determined environmental factors (Harman, 1992). Free radicals are those harmful and unstable types of oxygen that damage cells and cause decay, disease, and cancers. Every single person is affected by free radicals through exposure to pollutants, toxins and stress This is even more pronounced for smokers, people with chronic disease including cancer,

people recovering from surgery or illness, people with weak immune system and elderly (Nutrihealth, 2005). Antioxidants neutralize highly reactive, destructive compounds- called free radicals or bioxidants whose production is actually a normal part of life and part of the equation of simply breathing in oxygen (Kendall, 2000). Usually the body’s natural defense system neutralizes free radicals that develop, rendering them harmless. However, environmental assaults on the body such as UV-radiation, pollutions and alcohol, can overpower the body’s ability to neutralize free radicals. This allows them to cause damage to the structure and function of the body cells and there is good evidence that the damage contributes to ageing and leads to a host of illnesses, including cancer and heart diseases (Nutrihealth, 2005). Buttress, Celly, Dallal, Young and Evans (1994) in their initial studies, indicated that antioxidants reduce oxidative stress. However, human intervention studies do not support a beneficial effect of antioxidant supplements. Turner (2002) disclosed that initial studies in animals and humans are supportive of beneficial effects of plant foods rich in total antioxidants and that antioxidants and other plant compounds improve the endogenous antioxidant’s defense through induction of antioxidants. The best protection for the animal cells as for plant cells may be obtained by a combination of antioxidants as antioxidants with different chemical properties are needed for proper protection of all components in a cell or an organism. Such interactions were proved invivo and invitro for alpha-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol, ascorbic acid, lipoic acid and thiols (Droge, 2002). Antioxidants- beta carotene, vitamins C and E and selenium as scavengers of harmful oxygen-derived free radicals, assist to prevent cell and tissue damages which could precipitate many diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, respiratory diseases, liver damages, rheumatoid arthritis, cataract and acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Others are inflammatory bowel diseases, central nervous system disorders, Parkinson disease, motoneuron disease and conditions associated with premature deaths (Talalay, 2000). Antioxidants with different chemical properties may recharge each other in an oxidant net work and the total antioxidants of dietary plants may be a useful tool for testing antioxidant network hypothesis. Dietary plants rich in total antioxidant compounds include several fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, drinks, ginger, red beans, soybeans, onions, garlic, spinach, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflowers and other food spices (Turner, 2002). Antioxidant research continues to grow and emerge as new beneficial none nutritive foods are discovered and such obtained from food sources, including fruits, vegetable and whole grains are potentially active in disease

risk reduction and generally beneficial to human health (Warmer, 2002).

Adults within the ages 40-60 are susceptible to chronic diseases and plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain many none nutritive dietary components that are beneficial to human health. Research supports that some of these foods as part of an overall healthy diet have the potential to delay the onset of many age related diseases. This observation has lead to continued research aimed at identifying specific bioactive components of foods, such as antioxidants, which may be responsible for improving and maintaining health (Turner, 2002). The most well known component of food with antioxidant activities are vitamins A, C, and E, beta carotene, the mineral selenium, and more recently, the compound Lycopene (Bliss, 2007). Research continues to grow regarding the knowledge of antioxidants as healthful components of food. Oxidation or the loss of an electron produces reactive substances known as free radicals which can cause oxidative stress or damage to cells. Antioxidants are capable of stabilizing free radical before they react and cause harm in much the same way as buffer stabilizes an acid to maintain a normal pH. Since oxidation is a normally occurring process within the body, a balance with antioxidants must exist to.....

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