These days one is reading a lot about antioxidants and their role in health. But people little know about what antioxidants really are. Antioxidants are defined as substances that are capable of reducing oxidative damage in animal tissue. Antioxidants are either nutrients like vitamins and minerals or enzymes. Antioxidants are slowly emerging as the means of prevention against the development of diseases like cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and cataracts.
Antioxidant” is a classification which includes the following organic substances:
- Vitamins C
- Vitamins E
- Vitamin A (which is converted from beta-carotene)
- Selenium (a mineral)
Antioxidants have the role of counteracting free radical before they can harm the body. Free radicals arise in the body from inside and outside sources.
In the body oxidants or free radicals develop from the results of normal aerobic respiration, metabolism and inflammation. Environmental free radicals form due to the environmental causes such as pollution, smoking, alcohol, arduous exercise, radiation even from our good old sunlight. Free radicals can damage cell wall, cell structure and even genetic material within the cell. It is difficult for us to prevent the damage caused by free radicals. And as we age, the damaged cell part by oxidation accumulate. This is where antioxidants find their role.
Consuming food rich with antioxidants provide the body with instruments to deactivate harmful free radicals. Research supports that food sources of antioxidants like fruit, vegetable, nuts, whole grains can reduce various risks like that of cardio vascular diseases.
What to remember when dealing with antioxidants:
Antioxidant vitamins have potential health promoting properties. When contemplating whether to take up antioxidants or not always remember that a health and well balance diet cannot be substituted by any number of supplements. A diet rich in fruit, vegetable, nuts, whole grains will provide you with the natural requirements of various vitamins and considerably reduce the chances of being over depending on supplements for the natural requirements of your body.