Antioxidants Are Necessary For Health

What Are Antioxidants? How Do Antioxidants Work?

fruits that contain antioxidants

First of all we should define Oxidants. To explain this let's use a typical oxidation process. You have noticed the oxidation of metals. Iron gets rusty, aluminum gets a white film, copper turns green. That's what happens when elements such as air and water exert their forces.

The same thing happens in our bodies. Just by breathing you are creating oxidants. Oxidants are also known as "free radicals". A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron, which means it's highly unstable and highly reactive.

How Do Free Radicals Cause Damage?

Free radicals destroy tissue in search of electrons. They damage tissue by "stealing" electrons from other healthy cells in the body.

Here Is How Antioxidant Foods Protect Health

Antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of oxidation in animal tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of some chronic diseases.

Antioxidants block the process of oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. In doing so, the antioxidants themselves become oxidized. That is why there is a constant need to replenish our antioxidant resources.

Antioxidants protect your health by either Chain-Breaking
or by Prevention

Chain-breaking
When a free radical releases or steals an electron, a second radical is formed. This molecule then turns around and does the same thing to a third molecule, continuing to generate more unstable products. The process continues until termination occurs either the radical is stabilized by a chain-breaking antioxidant such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, or it simply decays into a harmless product.
Prevention
Antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase prevent oxidation by reducing the rate of chain initiation. That is, by scavenging initiating radicals, antioxidants can hinder an oxidation chain from ever being set in motion. They can also prevent oxidation by stabilizing transition metal radicals such as copper and iron.

What Functions Do Antioxidants Perform?

  • help rebuild a strong healthy immune system
  • radically improve digestion
  • slow down the aging process. The inevitable wrinkled skin, age spots, sore joints, and lack of energy can be substantially reduced
  • dramatically improve mental clarity
  • suppress appetite to aid in losing weight
  • remove harmful cholesterol deposits and lower blood pressure
  • act as a diuretic to eliminate bloating and swelling
    • reduce the appearance of cellulite
  • remove toxic residue from your cells
  • stop damage to your DNA and cells
  • promote good circulation and heart function

Who Needs Antioxidants? Everyone!

What Foods Contain Antioxidants? Antioxidants are found in fruits, vegetables, spices, cocoa, coffee bean, and some nuts. The amount of antioxidants found in these foods is measured by an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbtion Capacity) rating. That being said, there has been a lot of mis-information written about the ORAC rating: Mostly by purveyors of so-called "Nutritional Fruit Juice" products that claim to cure everything from skin rashes to Cancer.

Here are some of the most antioxidant-rich foods available. It is recommended that you eat the whole food as opposed to drinking the juice. A lot of nutrients are lost during the juicing/pasteurization process. When you extract the juice from the rest of the fruit, it becomes very high in fructose which is not a benefit. Also, very little of the product is the acutal juice - as little as 2% has been found in some of those high priced nutritional fruit juice products.

  • Açai
  • Pomegranate
  • Goji Berry
  • Cranberries
  • Green Tea Extracts
  • Coffee Berry
  • Red Raspberry
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Mangosteen (the rind)
  • ... and many others

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