What Are Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in food and the environment which can prevent or slow or neutralize the oxidative damage to the body caused by free radicals. Antioxidants act in our bodies to repair damage done by the harmful substances that may enter our bodies through food or interaction with the environment. Benefits of antioxidants are

Free Radicals

Free radicals are molecules with incomplete electron shells which make them more chemically reactive than those with complete electron shells. Free radicals are molecules with incomplete electron shells which makes them potentially damaging when coming in contact with other cells. They are byproducts of our body's metabolism and are created when we digest food, breathe air, or are exposed to the sun or are exposed to the cigarette smoke or radiation. In humans, the largest source of free radicals comes from contact with oxgen. When we use oxygen, we produce free radicals as byproducts. These type of damage caused by free radicals is referred to as Oxidative damage (sideproduct from our body's prcessing of oxygen), and over time, oxidative damage can result in a number of diseases:

Overall, free radicals are part of our environment, and we can not completely escape them. Instead, we can take a common sense approach to dealing with free radicals. If they are left in the body for too long, free radicals can damage tissue and cause inflammation. If we do not counter free radicals with antioxidants, over time, damage from the free radicals to our tissue and DNA may become irreversible and lead to disease including cancer.

List of Antioxidants

Less Common But Important Antioxidants

Antioxidant enzymes made by the body:

Antioxidant Warning

While there are a number of studies being done to determine to possible health benefits of antioxidants, many of the studies have been inconclusive. Studies show:

Don't over-do it on the antioxidants just yet. Instead, focus on maintaining a healthy and balanced diet full of naturally grown, organic fruits and veggies.

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