Antioxidants and their health benefits
You may be wondering why everyone is talking about antioxidants and why they are so important in your daily diet…. Let’s find out! ?
With all the different diseases and illnesses in the world today, proper nutrition is put at forefront of everyone’s mind. Nutrition’s role is to minimize and prevent disease in the body, as everybody knows…
What is known about antioxidants is that they are believed to protect cells, arteries and organs from free radical damage, caused by unstable molecules in the body. Free radicals have been linked to a variety of diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers. Antioxidants play the housekeeper’s role, ‘mopping up’ free radicals before they get a chance to harm your body. Many of the free radicals come from air pollutants, toxic industrial chemicals, pesticides, cigarette smoke and drugs.
The free radicals can be countered by antioxidants that are like the warriors fighting for our health. They work by blocking the path of the free radicals and protect the cells from them. By eating foods that contain antioxidants, you can supply your cells with the power to eliminate the killer free radicals. Antioxidants fortify and strengthen the cells, which can fight back the wolves.
Okay enough of the complicated stuff, lets get into the benefits.
Benefits of eating antioxidants
Disease Fighting Antioxidants
– Antioxidants in your morning coffee and tea may help prevent heart disease, according to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. A study published in the October 2012 issue of the “International Journal Of Biochemistry and Cell Biology” found that polyphenol antioxidants in coffee and tea prevent oxidation of fats, a process that promotes widespread inflammation and can increase risk of heart disease and diabetes.
– Some studies have shown that smokers with diets high in carotenoids have a lower rate of lung cancer development than their smoking counterparts whose carotenoid intake is relatively low.
– Other research efforts have suggested that diets high in carotenoids may also be associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.
– Research also shows that men who eat plenty of the antioxidant lycopene (found in tomatoes) may be less likely than other men to develop prostate cancer.
– Flavonoids, such as the tea catechins found in green tea, are believed to contribute to the low rates of heart disease in Japan.
Why is that some people may be advanced in years, and yet appear young? Why do others appear to be aging more rapidly than others do? Now read this carefully, a variety of factors may be involved, and diet seems to be a significant factor. (When it comes to diet, what you put in your body is something the body does not need and can throw bodily functions out of balance, cause stress or damage, and require increased nourishment to counteract those negative effects.) As your body is exposed to toxins and other forms of stress, the health of your cell is impacted. These effects may be small, but they add up so-called oxidative stresses accumulate in the body. Oxidative stress has the same basic impact on the body as rust does on a car. Instead of rust, we call these oxidizing agents free radicals.
The human body regenerates over time, cell by cell. This is how your body repairs from the stress of physical activity (exercise), the damage of a cut, broken bone, an infection or exposure to a strong toxin like chlorine. If the free radicals have been neutralized, the new cells will be able to function optimally.
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants in foods such as vitamin E and C, may help delay the aging process and prevent or even reverse memory loss, according to a study published in the December 2008 issue of the journal “Age”. In the animal study, blueberry rich diets improved the ability of brain cells to maintain long-term communication and establish strong connections.
So if you want to add years to your lives, start eating antioxidants…
Antioxidants in foods, including vitamin A, C and E, polyphenols and certain minerals such as selenium boost immune function by quenching free radicals, according to Penn State University. By neutralizing these harmful compounds, antioxidants help prevent against some form of cancer and can help strengthen the immune system in the management of HIV infection.
A study published in the September 2012 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food” found that certain combinations of antioxidant-rich foods offer particular benefits. When antioxidants in blueberry, strawberry and spinach are combined, they together protect the nervous system by inhibiting an enzyme that may be involved in certain neurologic disorders, including autism, depression and schizophrenia.
Good Sources Of Antioxidants
Plant foods are rich sources of antioxidants. They are most abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods including nuts, whole grains and some meats, poultry and fish. Some of them are mentioned below:
Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals
Stimulates the immune system
Improves the circulatory system
Role in preventing cataracts
Key for healthy skin and eyes
Green leafy veggies
Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals
Detoxifies the body
Reduces high blood pressure
Strengthen our immunity system
Vitamin A is a powerful free radical scavenger that
Helps the circulatory system and cholesterol levels
Fights against cataracts, macular degeneration
Fights against oxidative stress
Promotes healthy skin
Powerful free radical scavenger
Good for skin
Lowers cholesterol levels
Prevents certain cancers, heart disease and cataracts
Fights against free radicals
Improves the immune system against bacterial and viral infections
Increases the HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol
Free radical scavenging capacity
Coronary heart disease prevention
Prevents the aging of skin
Sweet red peppers
Lowers the risk of heart attack
Fights against free radicals
Helps prevent diabetes
Helps in the treatment of infertility
Prevents the aging of skin and keeps it younger looking
Acts as an internal sunscreen and protects your skin from sunburn
To sum up, antioxidants should be found in everyone’s diet. There is a saying that the best time to dig a well is before you are thirsty, so the earlier you incorporate antioxidants into your diet, the more you will benefit. However, anyone, at any age, can benefit from improved nutrition so never think it’s too late to change.