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
- Strengthen Immune System and Prevent us from Getting Sick
- Helps prevent different heart problems
- Helps prevent diabetes
- Gives us better skin
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.
- Heart Disease
- Macular Degeneration
List of Antioxidants
- Vitamin A and Beta Carotine (Carotenoids), generally found in brightly colored and orange fruits and vegetables
- Some cheeses
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), found in
- Citrus fruits
- Green peppers
- Green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), found in
- Nuts & seeds
- Whole grains
- Wheat germ oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Green leafy vegetables
- Vegetable oil
- Liver oil
- Selenium, technically amineral and not a nutrient antioxidant, but a component of antioxidant enzymes found in
- Red meat
- Basil nuts
- Grains like rice, what
Less Common But Important Antioxidants
- Flavonoids found in soy, red wine, grapes, pomegranate, cranberries, tea
- Lycopene an importan antioxidant found in tomato (largely), grapefruit, guava, papaya, apricots, watermelon, blueberries, blood ooranges
- Lutein, ackgnowledged for its benefits to eyes and vision, found in dark green vegetables like kale and spinach, corn, butternut squash, mango
- Lignan found in flax seed, oatmeal, barley, rye
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Antioxidant enzymes made by the body:
- Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
- Glutathione peroxidase
While there are a number of studies being done to determine to possible health benefits of antioxidants, many of the studies have been inconclusive.
- Different populations respond differently to increased antioxidants
- Some studies have even shown antioxidants to increase change of lung cancer
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.