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Antioxidants Keep Us Young !

Updated on November 8, 2009

Protect Yourself and Live a Healthy Life

Excerpts from Wikipedia’s definition of antioxidant: “An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols or polyphenols.”

Antioxidants protect the cells in our bodies. They are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage. Although oxygen is essential for life, its reactivity with other compounds can be harmful. Free radicals are the result of some oxygen molecules that are converted into oxidizing agents during the process that creates energy in cells. Free radicals can be caused in a number of ways, such as ionized radiation from the sun, x-rays, nitrous oxide from automobile exhaust, saturated fat, cigarette smoke, alcohol, and chemicals found in food, water, and air.

Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and therefore prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Health problems such as heart disease, cancer, premature aging, inflammatory diseases, Parkinson's, periodontal disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes, etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. A recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. It also enhance immune defense hence lower the risk of cancer and infection.

Antioxidants cannot be created in our bodies; they come from our diet. They are natural substances that occur we get from eating fruits and vegetables. They are found in colorful fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C, Selenium, and Beta Carotene. Vegetables including Spinach, Blueberries, Garlic, Brussels sprouts, Carrots, Red Bell Peppers and Tomatoes are jam-packed with antioxidants. In addition, fruits like Oranges, Mangoes, Melons, Honeydews, Peaches and Avocados are also loaded with it. Dark chocolate, green tea and coffee have antioxidants too.

The primary antioxidants are Phytochemicals, which help our bodies repair themselves and offer us stronger immune systems. Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Carotenoids, Seleniums and Anthocyanins are the most common compounds of Phytochemicals. Many studies have shown that they play a vital role in living a longer and healthier life.

Although there are some antioxidants products found in the market today, the natural way is always the best. Eating healthy and varied diet is the key to protect yourself to live a healthy life.

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