Special Issue "Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health"

A special issue of Antioxidants (ISSN 2076-3921). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Outcomes of Antioxidants and Oxidative Stress".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2022 | Viewed by 21001

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gianluca Rizzo
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Guest Editor
Independent Researcher, Via Venezuela 66, 98161 Messina, Italy
Interests: vegetarian diet; vegan diet; plant-based diet; soy; soy foods; phytoestrogens; isoflavones; vitamin b12; cobalamins; homocysteine; b-vitamins; polyunsaturated fatty acids; vitamin D; dietary supplements; oxidative stress; antioxidants; iron; mushrooms; cognition; Alzheimer disease; fertility
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A common feature of dietary guidelines is the advice to choose mainly plant foods. These are the source of numerous beneficial substances for human health, including macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Many of these are bioactive substances produced by plants to cope with the oxidative stress to which they are constantly subjected. Humans take advantage of the health benefits of these exogenous antioxidant molecules through nutrition. The more plant foods are represented in diet, the more these substances are conveyed by diet, offering their health benefits. The antioxidant role of diet may act with multiple mechanisms by offering a source of bioactive molecules with quenching properties or by stimulating endogenous antioxidant defense systems. Plant-based diets are patterns mainly focused on plant foods, excluding animal foods in a more or less evident way, including vegetarian diet and Mediterranean diet. The purpose of this Special Issue is to provide the current scientific evidence available in the literature on the role of plant-based diets on human health, with particular regard to multiple molecules with an antioxidant effect. These aspects are very relevant if we consider that oxidative stress represents a common feature of various chronic non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Accepted article types are human-based original research, reviews, perspectives, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. We encourage the submission of human clinical studies or reviews based on them, avoiding preclinical and in vitro studies, with a margin of tolerance of studies on human cells.

Dr. Gianluca Rizzo
Dr. Mauro Lombardo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Antioxidants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive oxigen species
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant-based
  • Mediterranean
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effect of the Consumption of Powdered Concentrate of Sechium edule var. nigrum spinosum in Mexican Older Adults with Metabolic Syndrome
Antioxidants 2022, 11(6), 1076; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11061076 - 28 May 2022
Viewed by 818
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has a high prevalence in older adults and is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and complications of old age. It has also been related to oxidative stress (OxS) and chronic inflammation (CI) and their consequent alterations. Therefore, it is [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has a high prevalence in older adults and is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and complications of old age. It has also been related to oxidative stress (OxS) and chronic inflammation (CI) and their consequent alterations. Therefore, it is important to propose therapeutic alternatives such as the consumption of Sechium edule (Chayote), since hypoglycemic, hypotensive, and lipogenesis inhibitor properties are attributed to it. We carried out a study in 81 older adults (OA) with MetS to determine the effect of consumption of chayote powder concentrate (500 mg, three times a day) for six months, with a baseline measurement, at three and six months in an experimental group (EG) (n = 41) and a placebo group (PG) (n = 40), all with a diagnosis of MetS according to the criteria of National Adult Treatment Panel of the National Cholesterol Program III (NCEP/ATP III). Anthropometric, biochemical, OxS markers, and inflammation measurements were performed on all participants, basal, three, and six months after. A statistically significant decrease was found in the concentration of lipoperoxides (TBARS), 8-isoprostanes, 8-OHdG, oxidative stress score (OSS), HbA1c, blood pressure, and in the number of MetS diagnostic criteria, as well as an increase in total antioxidant status (TAS), antioxidant gap (GAP), superoxide dismutase (SOD), interleukin 10 (IL-10), and HDL-cholesterol in EG. The results suggest that the consumption of Sechium edule powder has a hypotensive, hypoglycemic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effect in OA with MetS and reduced the percentage of patients with MetS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Article
Brown Algae-Derived Fucoidan Exerts Oxidative Stress-Dependent Antiproliferation on Oral Cancer Cells
Antioxidants 2022, 11(5), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11050841 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
Fucoidan is a dietary brown algae-derived fucose-rich polysaccharide. However, the anticancer effects of fucoidan for oral cancer treatment remain unclear, particularly in terms of its preferential antiproliferation ability and oxidative-stress-associated responses. This study first evaluated the effects and mechanisms of the preferential antiproliferation [...] Read more.
Fucoidan is a dietary brown algae-derived fucose-rich polysaccharide. However, the anticancer effects of fucoidan for oral cancer treatment remain unclear, particularly in terms of its preferential antiproliferation ability and oxidative-stress-associated responses. This study first evaluated the effects and mechanisms of the preferential antiproliferation of fucoidan between oral cancer and non-malignant oral cells (S–G). In a 48 h MTS assay, fucoidan showed higher antiproliferation in response to five types of oral cancer cells, but not S–G cells, demonstrating preferential antiproliferation of oral cancer cells. Oral cancer cells (Ca9-22 and CAL 27) showing high sensitivity to fucoidan were selected to explore the antiproliferation mechanism compared to S–G cells. Fucoidan showed subG1 accumulation and an annexin V increase in apoptosis, accompanied by caspase 8, 9, and 3 activations in oral cancer cells, but not in S–G cells. Fucoidan increased reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial superoxide levels and decreased cellular glutathione in oral cancer cells compared with S–G cells. These oxidative stress effects were attributed to the downregulation of antioxidant signaling genes (NRF2, TXN, and HMOX1) in oral cancer cells rather than S–G cells. Fucoidan showed DNA damage-inducible effects (γH2AX and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine) in oral cancer cells but not in S–G cells. Accordingly, these preferential changes in oral cancer but not in non-malignant cells contribute to the preferential antiproliferation mechanism of fucoidan. Furthermore, these changes were reverted by pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine. Therefore, for the first time, this study provides a detailed understanding of the preferential antiproliferation effects and mechanisms of fucoidan in oral cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Article
Mediterranean Diet and Physical Activity Decrease the Initiation of Cardiovascular Drug Use in High Cardiovascular Risk Individuals: A Cohort Study
Antioxidants 2021, 10(3), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10030397 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1474
Abstract
Our aim was to assess whether long-term adherence to a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) were associated with a lower initiation of cardiovascular drug use. We studied the association between cumulative average of MedDiet adherence and LTPA and the risk [...] Read more.
Our aim was to assess whether long-term adherence to a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) were associated with a lower initiation of cardiovascular drug use. We studied the association between cumulative average of MedDiet adherence and LTPA and the risk of cardiovascular drug initiation in older adults at high cardiovascular risk (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea trial participants) non-medicated at baseline: glucose-lowering drugs (n = 4437), antihypertensives (n = 2145), statins (n = 3977), fibrates (n = 6391), antiplatelets (n = 5760), vitamin K antagonists (n = 6877), antianginal drugs (n = 6837), and cardiac glycosides (n = 6954). One-point increases in MedDiet adherence were linearly associated with a decreased initiation of glucose-lowering (HR: 0.76 [0.71–0.80]), antihypertensive (HR: 0.79 [0.75–0.82]), statin (HR: 0.82 [0.78–0.85]), fibrate (HR: 0.78 [0.68–0.89]), antiplatelet (HR: 0.79 [0.75–0.83]), vitamin K antagonist (HR: 0.83 [0.74; 0.93]), antianginal (HR: 0.84 [0.74–0.96]), and cardiac glycoside therapy (HR: 0.69 [0.56–0.84]). LTPA was non-linearly related to a delayed initiation of glucose-lowering, antihypertensive, statin, fibrate, antiplatelet, antianginal, and cardiac glycoside therapy (minimum risk: 180–360 metabolic equivalents of task-min/day). Both combined were synergistically associated with a decreased onset of glucose-lowering drugs (p-interaction = 0.04), antihypertensive drugs (p-interaction < 0.001), vitamin K antagonists (p-interaction = 0.04), and cardiac glycosides (p-interaction = 0.01). Summarizing, sustained adherence to a MedDiet and LTPA were associated with lower risk of initiating cardiovascular-related medications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Article
Health Potential of Aloe vera against Oxidative Stress Induced Corneal Damage: An “In Vitro” Study
Antioxidants 2021, 10(2), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10020318 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1354
Abstract
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is characterized by the gradual deterioration of corneal endothelial cells (CECs) and is the most common cause of corneal transplantation worldwide. CECs apoptosis caused by oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of FECD. Antioxidant compounds [...] Read more.
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is characterized by the gradual deterioration of corneal endothelial cells (CECs) and is the most common cause of corneal transplantation worldwide. CECs apoptosis caused by oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of FECD. Antioxidant compounds have been of considerable significance as a candidate treatment in the management of corneal diseases. Based on these findings, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of an aloe extract with antioxidant properties, in an “in vitro” model of FECD. Human corneal epithelial (HCE) cells were preincubated with aloe extract 100 μg/mL, two hours before hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) stimulus. H2O2 challenge significantly reduced the cell viability, increased the generation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and malondialdehyde levels. Moreover, m-RNA expression and activity of Nrf-2, Catalase and Superoxide dismutase (SOD) were reduced together with an enhanced expression of IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), IL-6, and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2). Furthermore, Bcl-2, Caspase-3 and Caspase-8 expression were down-regulated while Bax was up-regulated by H2O2 stimulus. Aloe extract blunted the oxidative stress-induced inflammatory cascade triggered by H2O2 and modulated apoptosis. Aloe extract defends HCE cells from H2O2-induced injury possibly due its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, indicating that eye drops containing aloe extract may be used as an adjunctive treatment for FECD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Review

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Review
Chocolate and Cocoa-Derived Biomolecules for Brain Cognition during Ageing
Antioxidants 2022, 11(7), 1353; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11071353 - 12 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1368
Abstract
Cognitive decline is a common problem in older individuals, often exacerbated by neurocognitive conditions, such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which heavily affect people’s lives and exert a substantial toll on healthcare systems. Currently, no cure is available, and commonly used treatments [...] Read more.
Cognitive decline is a common problem in older individuals, often exacerbated by neurocognitive conditions, such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which heavily affect people’s lives and exert a substantial toll on healthcare systems. Currently, no cure is available, and commonly used treatments are aimed at limiting the progressive loss of cognitive functions. The absence of effective pharmacological treatments for the cognitive decline has led to the search for lifestyle interventions, such as diet and the use of nutraceuticals that can prevent and limit the loss of cognition. Cocoa and chocolate are foods derived from cocoa beans, commonly used in the population and with good acceptability. The purpose of this review was to collect current experimental evidence regarding the neuroprotective effect of chocolate and cocoa (or derived molecules) in the elderly. From a systematic review of the literature, 9 observational studies and 10 interventional studies were selected, suggesting that the biomolecules contained in cocoa may offer promising tools for managing cognitive decline, if provided in adequate dosages and duration of treatment. However, the molecular mechanisms of cocoa action on the central nervous system are not completely understood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Review
Recent Advances in Drumstick (Moringa oleifera) Leaves Bioactive Compounds: Composition, Health Benefits, Bioaccessibility, and Dietary Applications
Antioxidants 2022, 11(2), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11020402 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2655
Abstract
Based on the availability of many nutrients, Moringa oleifera tree leaves have been widely employed as nutrients and nutraceuticals in recent years. The leaves contain a small amount of anti-nutritional factors and are abundant in innumerable bioactive compounds. Recently, in several in vivo [...] Read more.
Based on the availability of many nutrients, Moringa oleifera tree leaves have been widely employed as nutrients and nutraceuticals in recent years. The leaves contain a small amount of anti-nutritional factors and are abundant in innumerable bioactive compounds. Recently, in several in vivo and in vitro investigations, moringa leaves’ bioactive components and functionality are highlighted. Moringa leaves provide several health advantages, including anti-diabetic, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. The high content of phytochemicals, carotenoids, and glucosinolates is responsible for the majority of these activities as reported in the literature. Furthermore, there is growing interest in using moringa as a value-added ingredient in the development of functional foods. Despite substantial study into identifying and measuring these beneficial components from moringa leaves, bioaccessibility and bioavailability studies are lacking. This review emphasizes recent scientific evidence on the dietary and bioactive profiles of moringa leaves, bioavailability, health benefits, and applications in various food products. This study highlights new scientific data on the moringa leaves containing nutrient and bioactive profiles, bioavailability, health benefits, and uses in various food items. Moringa has been extensively used as a health-promoting food additive because of its potent protection against various diseases and the widespread presence of environmental toxins. More research is needed for utilization as well as to study medicinal effects and bioaccesibility of these leaves for development of various drugs and functional foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Review
The Relevance of Plant-Derived Se Compounds to Human Health in the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic Era
Antioxidants 2021, 10(7), 1031; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10071031 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1660
Abstract
Dietary selenium (Se)-compounds accumulated in plants are essential for human metabolism and normal physiological processes. Inorganic and organic Se species can be readily absorbed by the human body, but are metabolized differently and thus exhibit distinct mechanisms of action. They can act as [...] Read more.
Dietary selenium (Se)-compounds accumulated in plants are essential for human metabolism and normal physiological processes. Inorganic and organic Se species can be readily absorbed by the human body, but are metabolized differently and thus exhibit distinct mechanisms of action. They can act as antioxidants or serve as a source of Se for the synthesis of selenoproteins. Selenocysteine, in particular, is incorporated at the catalytic center of these proteins through a specific insertion mechanism and, due to its electronic features, enhances their catalytic activity against biological oxidants. Selenite and other Se-organic compounds may also act as direct antioxidants in cells due to their strong nucleophilic properties. In addition, Se-amino acids are more easily subjected to oxidation than the corresponding thiols/thioethers and can bind redox-active metal ions. Adequate Se intake aids in preventing several metabolic disorders and affords protection against viral infections. At present, an epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) threatens human health across several countries and impacts the global economy. Therefore, Se-supplementation could be a complementary treatment to vaccines and pharmacological drugs to reduce the viral load, mutation frequency, and enhance the immune system of populations with low Se intake in the diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Review
Plant Foods Rich in Antioxidants and Human Cognition: A Systematic Review
Antioxidants 2021, 10(5), 714; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10050714 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2317
Abstract
Oxidative stress can compromise central nervous system integrity, thereby affecting cognitive ability. Consumption of plant foods rich in antioxidants could thereby protect cognition. We systematically reviewed the literature exploring the effects of antioxidant-rich plant foods on cognition. Thirty-one studies were included: 21 intervention, [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress can compromise central nervous system integrity, thereby affecting cognitive ability. Consumption of plant foods rich in antioxidants could thereby protect cognition. We systematically reviewed the literature exploring the effects of antioxidant-rich plant foods on cognition. Thirty-one studies were included: 21 intervention, 4 cross-sectional (one with a cohort in prospective observation as well), and 6 prospective studies. Subjects belonged to various age classes (young, adult, and elderly). Some subjects examined were healthy, some had mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and some others were demented. Despite the different plant foods and the cognitive assessments used, the results can be summarized as follows: 7 studies reported a significant improvement in all cognitive domains examined; 19 found significant improvements only in some cognitive areas, or only for some food subsets; and 5 showed no significant improvement or no effectiveness. The impact of dietary plant antioxidants on cognition appears promising: most of the examined studies showed associations with significant beneficial effects on cognitive functions—in some cases global or only in some specific domains. There was typically an acute, preventive, or therapeutic effect in young, adult, and elderly people, whether they were healthy, demented, or affected by MCI. Their effects, however, are not attributable only to anti-oxidation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Review
Diet-Derived Antioxidants and Their Role in Inflammation, Obesity and Gut Microbiota Modulation
Antioxidants 2021, 10(5), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10050708 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3417
Abstract
It is generally accepted that gut microbiota, inflammation and obesity are linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic/non-communicable pathological conditions, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and ageing-related disorders. In this scenario, oxidative stress plays a pivotal role. Evidence suggests that the [...] Read more.
It is generally accepted that gut microbiota, inflammation and obesity are linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic/non-communicable pathological conditions, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and ageing-related disorders. In this scenario, oxidative stress plays a pivotal role. Evidence suggests that the global dietary patterns may represent a tool in counteracting oxidative stress, thus preventing the onset of diseases related to oxidative stress. More specifically, dietary patterns based on the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables (i.e., Mediterranean diet) have been licensed by various national nutritional guidelines in many countries for their health-promoting effects. Such patterns, indeed, result in being rich in specific components, such as fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, whose beneficial effects on human health have been widely reported. This suggests a potential nutraceutical power of specific dietary components. In this manuscript, we summarize the most relevant evidence reporting the impact of dietary antioxidants on gut microbiota composition, inflammation and obesity, and we underline that antioxidants are implicated in a complex interplay between gut microbiota, inflammation and obesity, thus suggesting their possible role in the development and modulation of chronic diseases related to oxidative stress and in the maintenance of wellness. Do all roads lead to Rome? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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Review
The Impact of a Plant-Based Diet on Gestational Diabetes: A Review
Antioxidants 2021, 10(4), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10040557 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3131
Abstract
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) represents a challenging pregnancy complication in which women present a state of glucose intolerance. GDM has been associated with various obstetric complications, such as polyhydramnios, preterm delivery, and increased cesarean delivery rate. Moreover, the fetus could suffer from congenital [...] Read more.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) represents a challenging pregnancy complication in which women present a state of glucose intolerance. GDM has been associated with various obstetric complications, such as polyhydramnios, preterm delivery, and increased cesarean delivery rate. Moreover, the fetus could suffer from congenital malformation, macrosomia, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, and intrauterine death. It has been speculated that inflammatory markers such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL) 6, and C-reactive protein (CRP) impact on endothelium dysfunction and insulin resistance and contribute to the pathogenesis of GDM. Nutritional patterns enriched with plant-derived foods, such as a low glycemic or Mediterranean diet, might favorably impact on the incidence of GDM. A high intake of vegetables, fibers, and fruits seems to decrease inflammation by enhancing antioxidant compounds. This aspect contributes to improving insulin efficacy and metabolic control and could provide maternal and neonatal health benefits. Our review aims to deepen the understanding of the impact of a plant-based diet on oxidative stress in GDM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets and Their Antioxidant Role in Human Health)
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