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Antioxidants are chemical molecules that prevent oxidation of our cells. Antioxidants have the property to neutralize free radicals without becoming free radicals themselves. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and help prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Antioxidants are thought to be good for you because they attack free radical molecules. Antioxidants are naturally present in your body, and likely know some of them as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, co enzyme Q-10 and other names. Antioxidants are also thought to have a role in slowing the aging process and preventing heart disease and strokes, but the data still isn't conclusive. Antioxidants can be found in most fruits and vegetables but also culinary herbs and medicinal herbs can contain high levels of antioxidants. Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants, of which vitamin C and E are the main antioxidants.
Vitamin A is important for skin health, helps growth in children and protects against night blindness in addition to various other benefits. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a monosaccharide antioxidant which is available in both animals and plants. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of various cancers, coronary heart disease, cataract formation, and even air pollution. Supplements are less effective because, even taken as multivitamins, they do not contain the mixture of food based traces of natural antioxidant compounds present in foods, and may be administered in too high concentrations.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Free radicals are by products of energy generation in normal metabolism and they increase during infection and inflammation, exercise, stress, overexposure to sunlight, radiation, and exposure to external pollutants such as auto and diesel exhausts, emissions from power plants, cigarette smoke, pesticides, lead from old paint, and asbestos to name a few producers to some degree of oxidative stress. Free radicals are commonly associated with oxidative stress that may adversely affect cardiovascular, neurological, skin and visual health. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Free radicals are unstable molecules which react easily with essential molecules of our body, including DNA, fat and proteins. Free radicals are commonly produced as part of normal cell metabolism, but also can become excessive following injury or disease or can be caused by environmental pollutants such as UV radiation, cigarette smoke or smog. Free radicals arise from sources both inside (endogenous) and outside (exogenous) our bodies. Free radical damage is also believed to contribute to many other degenerative aspects of aging, such as wrinkles, hardening of arteries,and some of the loss of mental acuity that sometimes occurs with age. Free radicals can cause cancer, diabetes, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and wrinkles.
Natural antioxidants can bring you many health benefits. Natural antioxidants are as important to plants as they are to humans for preventing oxidative stress and damage from UV light. Natural antioxidants are also found in whole grains. Natural antioxidants, therefore, actually prevent the development of disease states by preventing oxidative stress by excess free radicals and by preventing the development of secondary radicals. Natural anti-oxidants include flavonoids, polyphenols, ascorbic acid and tocopherols.
Foods containing vitamins A, C and E are rich in antioxidants. Foods sources are known to give your antioxidant levels a boost. Foods such as pumpkin, spinach, white beans and brown rice will definitely boost your antioxidant levels. Foods loaded with adequate amount of antioxidants are vibrantly colorful vegetables and fruits. Foods like spinach and kale contain lutein. Foods which are orange in color are rich in beta carotene. Fruits including blueberries, raspberries, oranges and grapefruit are smart antioxidant choices.
Dietary sources of antioxidants: a simple way to add antioxidants to your life is to seek them in food sources. Dietary sources of antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin include broccoli and kale. Dietary sources of antioxidants known as lycopene include the tomato, which is also rich in vitamin C and other natural antioxidants.
Oxidative stress occurs when the production of harmful molecules called free radicals is beyond the protective capability of the antioxidant defenses. Oxidative stress is caused due to low antioxidant levels. Oxidative stress can overpower the ability to fight back and may result in cell and tissue damage, just like oxygen can brown an apple or banana. Oxidative stress is implicated in most human diseases because the super oxide can oxidatively damage molecules in the mammal biological system.
Oxidation is the addition of oxygen or the removal of hydrogen and can be caused by free radicals. Oxidation primarily occurs with unsaturated fats by a free radical mediated process. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that creates free radicals which in turn damage and destroy cells.
Researches show that a balanced diet that is at the same time rich in antioxidants, can work wonders in improving the health and longevity of an individual. Antioxidants are an important defence against free radical damage. Green Tea and Green Tea Extract can both provide antioxidant benefits,but green tea extract may be easier to deal with, say, when traveling or on a visit, than trying to brew a cup or pot of green tea. Green tea is considered to have six times more antioxidant power than black tea.