Lipids are a major component of food and important structural and functional constituents of cells in biological systems. However, this diverse group of substances is prone to oxidation through various pathways. Their oxidative stability depends on a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including the unsaturation of their fatty acids, composition of minor components, environment conditions, delivery techniques and use of antioxidants, among others. Lipid oxidation has detrimental effects on both food quality and human health, and efforts must be made to minimize oxidation and improve oxidative stability of lipid products. Antioxidant strategy has been successfully employed in the food industry for quality preservation of the food products and in the medicinal industry for risk reduction of numerous oxidative stress-mediated diseases. This tutorial review will provide important knowledge about lipid oxidation, including the mechanism and factors involved in oxidation, as well as strategies for improving oxidative stability of lipids.
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