Nowadays almost everybody speak about importance of antioxidants (AOs) which come from healthy eating or in the form of supplements. Antioxidants are natural substances that can prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Several foods contain antioxidants including fruits and vegetables. Most known AOs are beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Why antioxidant is so important for our health? According to health experts, AOs actually are protectors and nurturers of body cells, repelling disease and promoting good health. Antioxidants are able to protect our cells from free radicals, harmful oxygen molecules thought to damage cells that result in cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, AOs can prevent and slow down aging processes.
Antioxidants are our “friends” and free radicals are our “enemies”. Some antioxidants are produced by our body and some are received from healthy foods or supplements. Body’s natural antioxidant production can decline with aging. Free radicals are formed naturally in the body and their production and power can be strengthen by smoking, alcohol, air pollution, infections, stress, excessive sunlight and toxins (radiation, asbestos). Unfortunately the oxygen we need for survival can also be the catalyst for production of free radicals.
The best way to get enough AOs is healthy foods – regular diet rich in antioxidants will help keep you healthy. Vegetables and fruits are rich sources of AOs – they can decrease risks of certain diseases.
Antioxidants health benefits
Ability to repair damaged molecules (damaged cells);
Stimulating gene expression and endogenous antioxidant production – increasing body natural defense system (immune system);
AOs can provide “shielding effect” – protecting cells’ DNA from free radicals attack;
Anticancer ability – AOs promote apoptosis (so called “cancer cells suicide”), preventing cancer grow and spreading;
AOs are able to block metal radical production – some metal radicals can cause strong free radical formation.
Longer life with antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential part of good health – they can control how fast you age and prevent several diseases by fighting free radicals. Free radicals are linked to over 60 different diseases including atherosclerosis, cancer, inflammatory joint disease, asthma, diabetes, senile dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, degenerative eye disease and cataracts. Free radicals are also responsible for faster aging. At the same time, AOs help slow down the aging process, which can have immense effects on skin health and your appearance.
AOs are natural defense system for each body cell – providing adequate defense against attack by free radicals. As long as you have enough antioxidants in the body, you will be able to resist aging caused by everyday life and exposure to pollutants. If you don’t have an adequate supply of antioxidants to help squelch free radicals, then you can be at risk of oxidative stress, which leads to development of several serious diseases.
Some antioxidants are pretty powerful and can be recommended (from antioxidant-rich foods):
Resveratrol-rich foods – grapes, red wine, peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa, dark chocolate and some vegetables.
Resveratrol health benefits include:
Protection of nervous system,
Inhibition the spread of cancer (especially prostate cancer and breast cancer),
Reduction of increased blood pressure,
Protection of heart healthy and improvement of blood vessels’ elasticity,
Strengthening of anti-inflammatory body response,
Fight fungal infection, ultraviolet radiation, stress and injury,
Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Carotenoids-rich foods – apricots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, guava, kale, mango, pumpkin, red bell pepper, spinach, sweet potato, tomato and watermelon.
Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant properties. Carotenoids health benefits include:
Improving cardiovascular health;
Supporting immune system;
Reducing risks of cancer development;
Protecting brain cells (from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease);
Preventing eye diseases – protecting eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration and blindness;
Reducing inflammation (especially arthritis and asthma);
Improving male fertility – sperm count and sperm strength;
Protecting from ultraviolet radiation and sunburn;
Stabilizing blood sugar;
Relieving indigestion and reflux.
Vitamin C-rich foods – bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, papaya, chili peppers and pineapple.
Vitamin C health benefits include:
Fight free radicals – battle oxidation by acting as a major electron donor;
Protect vital body elements – proteins, lipids and some other elements;
Maintain optimal electron flow in body cells;
Support collagen synthesis – important structural component of bones, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments.
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Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.