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Antioxidants – Natural Defense Against Free Radical Damage to Your Body

why are antioxidants good for you

Antioxidants – Natural Defense Against Free Radical Damage to Your Body

Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements and have been investigated for the prevention of diseases such as altitude sickness, aging, coronary heart disease, and cancer. Antioxidants are nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as enzyme proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants, but they are abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as in other foods including nuts, soy and grains.

They boost the immunity system by playing important roles in cellular metabolism, signal transduction, transcription and gene activation. Antioxidants neutralize the effects of chronic inflammation, which is associated with a wide variety of health problems, and have anti-aging effects, because they are scavengers of free radicals and other reactive oxygen species which are linked to human diseases. Antioxidants are our first line of defense against free radical damage, and are critical for maintaining optimum cellular and systemic health and wellbeing. 

A free radical is an atom with a missing electron, and the atom you need to worry about is oxygen. Polyphenolic Antioxidants, Resveratrol and Flavonoids are best sourced from darkchocolate,Açaí, green tea and oregano to name a few. All of these antioxidants are powerful agents and you should be using them in your diet because they will help stop diseases.  Low levels of antioxidants cause  oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells. High levels of antioxidants will increase the effectiveness of the immune system, making older people less susceptible to life-threatening infections. Bioflavonoids are antioxidants that battle and neutralize a wide variety of free radicals including nitric oxide, the hydroxyl radical, and singlet oxygen, the super-oxide radical. 

Antioxidants are Nutrition ?

The importance of antioxidants cannot be overstated. We naturally lose antioxidants as we age and that means free radicals can start to win the battle. Keep in mind that antioxidants always work better in combination with other antioxidants than they do individually. Your individual levels of antioxidants depend on many factors including lifestyle, state of health, diet and heredity. The more free radicals you have to deal with, the more antioxidants you will need to handle them. Dark chocolate provides one of the richest sources of antioxidants available. Açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Other fruits, including grapes, guavas and mangoes, contain antioxidants shown to kill cancer cells. Fruits and vegetables are the only source of antioxidants.

Antioxidants prevent injury to blood vessel membranes, helping to increase blood flow to the heart and brain, defend against cancer causing DNA damage, and help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  Antioxidants fight cell-killing free radicals, which are atoms, or groups of atoms, with an odd number of electrons and are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. 

Commonly used to treat various forms of brain injury, antioxidants have shown great progress and they have been investigated as possible treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Antioxidants also support your immune system, strengthening your body’s natural defenses by lowering your risk of infections, because they are substances that can prevent, repair, or even reverse the effects of cellular oxidation, a natural but potentially harmful process that is occurring constantly within the body.

Antioxidants are found in vitamins C, E and A and the minerals copper, selenium and zinc.  Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colors, the deep red of tomatoes and cherries, the blue-purple of grapes, blueberries, and blackberries, the orange of carrots, the yellow of corn, saffron and mangos. Some antioxidants are naturally made in our cells and include enzymes and the small molecules of glutathione, uric acid, coenzyme Q-10 and lipoid acid. Most antioxidants come from the class of phytochemicals called flavonoids, of which there are at least 4000.

These antioxidants naturally occur in certain types of foods, such as nuts, seeds and whole grains, which have vitamin E, citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables, which contain large amounts of vitamin C, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, which are packed with beta-carotene, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and collard greens, which are packed with lutein, tomatoes and tomato products, which include lycopene, and Brazil nuts which are full of selenium.

Our body produces some antioxidants, but this natural production is often not enough to handle the free radicals that have accumulated. This is especially true if we are at risk from aging or external sources like our own environments, bad habits, and bad food choices. Having foods that are rich in antioxidants should be part of your daily diet for the anti-aging benefits and to prevent the free radicals from entering and damaging our bodies.

Studies show that diets high in antioxidants or antioxidant supplements reduce cancer death rates, cold and flu infections and protect against atherosclerosis, heart disease and cataracts. When inflammation persists, the body’s own antioxidants may become depleted, allowing reactive oxygen species to accumulate and damage normal healthy cells.

Vitamins and Antioxidants ?

Plant-based, antioxidant-rich foods should form the major part of the human diet because plant-based dietary antioxidants play the most important role in maintaining human health. Vitamin E is the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the body and is one of the most efficient chain-breaking antioxidants available. Antioxidants help protect and prevent your body from rusting in a healthy and natural way. The food you eat helps to protect your body inside and out, therefore its best to fill your diet with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants from fresh grown foods. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient vitamin antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Beta Carotene.

It is well known and documented that smokers, and older non healthy individuals, among others, with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, are depleted of antioxidants. Review all of the information on this site especially the books and DVDs to further learn how a plant-based diet will protect the body from free-radicals. Second and third opinions are always recommended. At least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain a proper supply of food derived antioxidants for your body is the recommendation of the U.S. National Research Council. You are what you eat and the plant-based diet is the answer to supplying the necessary antioxidants.

You have now been empowered with the knowledge to take control of your health and to save your life. It’s not what you learn in life that counts, but what you are able to teach.“Those that have the privilege to know have the duty to act” Albert Einstein. Bookmark this site because it will always be updated and improved to remain an award winning information and reference site. The books and videos featured on this site should be part of everyone’s health library. Don’t forget to tell the people you care about – everyone. These are the lessons of good health and abundant life that are learned and enjoyed by being a vegetarian and eating all the healthy antioxidants.

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