What are Antioxidants

We hear it on the news every day; high in antioxidants, rich in antioxidants. But, do you really know what antioxidants are, or why they’re so important to our health? Here we will address what antioxidants are, why they are so important, and the types of antioxidants we need. You may find the information helpful when you realize that antioxidants are said to be attributed in helping prevent many of today’s most devastating diseases, diseases such as; Cancer, and Heart Disease.

In a simplified definition, Antioxidants are, compounds that protect against cell damage inflicted by molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are a major cause of disease and aging. These antioxidants are found in nutrients and enzymes. For a more detailed definition visit Wikipedia

By protecting our cell’s from free radicals, antioxidants are believed to play a role I preventing the development of such chronic diseases as Cancer, Heart Disease, Stoke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Cataracts. Antioxidants are found in both nutrients and enzymes, so there are many ways and many types of food you can get them from.

Types of Antioxidants; Nutrients

* Vitamin E
* Vitamin C
* Beta-carotene
* Selenium

Types of Antioxidants; Enzymes

* Superoxide dismutase
* Catalase
* Glutathione peroxidase

The antioxidants in the enzyme category are your primary defense in destroying free radicals

In addition to enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, there appear to be many other nutrients and compounds that have antioxidant properties. Among them is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, or ubiquinone), which is essential to energy production and can also protect the body from destructive free radicals. Also, uric acid, a product of DNA metabolism, has become increasingly recognized as an important antioxidant. Additionally, substances in plants called phytochemicals are being investigated for their antioxidant activity and health-promoting potential.

Although there are many supplements out there, it is best to get your antioxidants directly from your food. There are a myriad of options for you to choose from, such as:

* Vitamin E: Found in goji berries, vegetable oils, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, seeds, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, olives, avocado, and liver
* Vitamin C: Found in goji berries, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cantaloupe, and strawberries
* Beta-carotene: Found in goji berries, cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, pumpkin, peppers, spinach, kale, squash, sweet potatoes, apricots
* Selenium: Found in seafood, beef, chicken, pork, brazil nuts, brown rice, whole wheat bread

According to The American Heart Association, “people should eat a variety of foods daily from all of the basic food groups to ensure a proper daily intake.” Moreover, they believe it is better to get the bulk of your needed nutrients from food, as opposed to supplements. Keep in mind that we now know that consuming mega-doses of antioxidants can actually be harmful due to their potential toxicity and interactions with medications.

 

 

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