Antioxidants. We have all heard about them. Free radicals and antioxidants in our bodies, how do they work? So, free radicals sounds scary, but here’s how to protect your body with fruits and vegetables. Antioxidant rich foods, and how do they work exactly?
Antioxidants – How Do They Work?
So let’s discuss antioxidants and how do they work? The prefix ‘anti’ means against, in opposition to. Corrective in nature. However, in this case, the ‘anti’ in antioxidant describes the effect these chemicals have on oxidants.
Oxidants, usually referred to as ‘free radicals’, are produced as a natural byproduct of the millions of biochemical processes undertaken by the body every minute. The same life-giving oxygen that supports all functions of the body creates these harmful by-products. They cause cell damage, usually to DNA, fats, and proteins.
Free Radicals Can Age Your Body
Free radicals also enter the body through external influences, like exposure to the sun, pesticides, and other kinds of environmental pollution. In addition, mental and physical stress increases their levels. For instance, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, unhealthy foods, and cigarette smoke.
In much the same way as oxidation causes rust on cars, oxidation inside the body causes a breakdown of cells. So, if the amount of free radical oxidation in the body is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level. This can lead to extensive damage to cellular components. After that, it can accelerate the aging process.
More importantly, it may contribute to various degenerative illnesses. It can even reduce the body’s ability to deal with other problems, including cardiovascular malfunction, eye disease, and cancer.
Additionally, it may lead to a compromised immune system. Therefore, leading to immunological disorders. In addition, a lessening of the body’s ability to heal wounds and overcome infections. In addition, some studies indicate possible links to arthritis and similar chronic conditions.
Antioxidants counter these effects by binding with free radicals before they can cause damage. They will then convert them into non-damaging biochemical substances. Thus assisting enormously with the reparation of cellular damage.
Certain Antioxidant Enzymes are Produced Within the Body!
The most well-known of these are catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione:
- Catalase converts hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.
- Superoxide dismutase breaks antioxidants down into hydrogen peroxide.
- Glutathione is a detoxifying agent. This means it changes the form of toxins so that the body easily eliminates them.
Antioxidants Can Be Consumed Through The Diet
For example, some better-known ones include the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E. In addition, minerals like selenium, zinc, glutathione, and co-enzyme Q10 may also have antioxidant properties. Flavonoids, including cranberry, some amino acids, plus organic extracts from milk thistle and the tree known as Ginkgo Biloba, are rich in antioxidants.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides abundant antioxidants. This will help eliminate damage to free radicals. The highest concentrations are found in fruits and leafy green vegetables, like carrots, orange, and red peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. Read more about how to eat more fruits and veggies.
The cooking process will destroy some antioxidants in food. It will even interfere with the body’s ability to absorb them. However, eating raw vegetables and fruit, and including sprouts in the diet, is helpful. Steaming vegetables, rather than frying, microwaving, or boiling, is also a good idea.
Antioxidants are best taken in combination. Since single antioxidants, like vitamin E, will need other vitamins to work as an effective antioxidant. Food and natural supplements may therefore provide the most bioavailable source of antioxidants. Some of the best sources of natural ones ever found are natural products from the rainforests of the world.
Fruits, like açai berry, are striking in the health world with the wide range and many antioxidants they contain. So, this makes them a perfect source of antioxidants. It’s no wonder the açai berry is one of the top 10 “super foods” in the world.
You might also like to read:
- 10 Fruits High in Antioxidants (and Why You Should Eat Them)
- Phytochemicals – The Secret Key To Good Health!
Let’s Discuss Antioxidants and How They Work Against Free Radicals!
I would love to hear if you have ever tried Açai berries before. So, let me know what your favorite antioxidant-rich fruit or vegetable is in the comments below.
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