What Is An Antioxidant?
“It’s full of antioxidants.” This is what you often read or hear when a particular food, drink, or supplement is being recommended as a health product. A particular fruit, for example, is healthy for you, and the proof is that it contains lots of antioxidants. There’s no need to say anything else.
The first thing we need to learn is what oxidation is. Oxidation is simply when any type of cells are exposed to oxygen. Fruit may rot, for example. When you have a cut in your skin, oxidation causes the skin cells to die, which results in the growth of new skin cells cut. Oxidation is a crucial part of normal cellular function.
The problem is that sometimes the cells exposed to oxygen don’t die. Instead, they become damaged and are transformed into free radicals. The “free” refers to the fact that these cells are missing a crucial molecule, and free radicals can be ruthless in their search to pair up with that molecule. They get that missing molecule by attacking other cells that leave those cells damaged. It damages that cell’s DNA, so it grows and reproduces abnormally.
Now normal cell functions tend to cause a minimal level of free radicals, and usually that’s not a problem. The body naturally produces enough antioxidants to handle the situation. But the real threat is that modern life causes your body to produce more of them than what your body can handle on its own. Cigarette smoke generates lots of free ones, and so does drinking too much alcohol. The pollutants in the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the water you drink all also generate a lot in your system.
And once you have free radicals, the main danger is that each free radical doesn’t just damage one molecule or cell. It can trigger a chain reaction. The cell it attacks can become a free radical itself. It’s like a zombie epidemic in which one zombie bites a human that that human becomes a zombie too.
With continuous and repeated free radical attacks in your body, your natural protection system can be overrun and that can lead to a host of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
Are Antioxidants Good For You?
Yes, they are. Basically, these are micronutrients or compounds which can be either natural or synthetic, and they counter the effects of free radicals. So what do they do? What they do is that they can donate the electrons needed by the free radicals so these don’t attack your cells instead. And what are they good for? They basically help lower your chances of getting the serious chronic diseases that free radicals are known to cause.
Types of Antioxidants
The human body needs a mix of various types in order to maintain your health against the damage caused by free radicals. One type of them may only work on some particular part of cells or on specific tissues. Since there are different types of them, different antioxidant types may be more effective against certain types of free radicals.
The biggest class of antioxidants is called flavonoids. Scientists have identified about 5,000 different flavonoids found in different food items. Another type of antioxidant is the polyphenols or just phenols for short.
Vitamin C is perhaps considered as a super one because it offers multiple health benefits. As an antioxidant, vitamin C disrupts the chain reaction before it even begins by capturing and neutralizing the free radical. On the other hand, vitamin E can stop a free radical chain reaction in progress.
Where to Get Antioxidants
Your best and strongest antioxi sources include various fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, sea weed, and some fishes that eat sea weed. The selenium antioxi, for example, can be found in eggs and milk, grains and garlic, red meat and shellfish, and even in Brazil nuts. Flavonoids can be found in berries and red wine, while lignan can found in oats and rye.
Since there are thousands of different antioxidants, scientists are still researching and discovering how particular they can benefit your health. For example, green tea has been touted as a great source of a flavonoid called epicatechin 3-gallate, and this flavonoid has true anti-aging and anticancer properties. Lycopene helps prevent prostate cancer, while lutein helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
So What Should You Do?
To maintain your health, part of your job is to make sure you don’t free radicals in excessive amounts. If you can live in the country where the air is cleaner, do it. Absolutely avoid smoking cigarettes, as this vice is perhaps the most horrific generator of them especially in your lungs. Don’t drink too much alcohol, and make sure your food and water is clean and free from pollutants and chemicals.
Since taking in free radicals is pretty much inevitable these days, you need a lot of green in your diet so you can maximize the number of types and levels of antioxidants you take in. Just make sure that don’t exceed the recommended levels of some types like vitamin E.
But if your diet is insufficient in providing you with enough of them, you may want to think about getting some supplements as well. Here, your best bet is to find supplements which contain antioxidants from natural sources.
For example, one of the more popular health supplements is Cell Fuzion, which contains powerful stuff. Some of its ingredients can truly protect your cells against them, and the potency of its antioxidants can even surpass the effects of Vitamin C. It’s also made in the US, so you know that quality control standards were maintained.
No doubt about it, modern living makes free radicals a true danger to our health. But with antioxidants, we have a fighting chance. What is an antioxidant? Basically, it’s a weapon against aging and disease.