The Importance of Antioxidants

Our body constantly produces harmful free-radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules or atoms formed as a by – product whenever oxygen reacts with certain molecules in side our body during everyday functions like digestion and physical activity.  Outside sources, such as smoking, pollution, and synthetic chemicals added to our water and food also contribute free radicals to our body. This free radical continuously attacks our body. They are considered harmful mainly because of the reason that when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane, they cause immense damage. They hamper functioning of the cell and may even cause it to die. When the level of Free Radicals present in living tissues exceeds the safety ark, it causes cell destruction, malignant mutation and inflammation. These are generally manifested as age-related, chronic degenerative diseases.

 To counter these free radicals our body needs anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals and are also involved in repairing the damage. Cellular damage commonly attributes to cancer, ageing, heart diseases etc. anti-oxidants are free radical scavengers, they help our body get rid of them. Some of the anti-oxidants which play a vital role in our body are Vitamin C, vitamin A, lutein,beta-carotene, Lycopene, selenium etc.

When we exercise there is an increase in oxygen uptake by our body, this immensely increases the generation of free radicals , thus increasing the risk of damage to the muscles and other tissues . This increase in free radicals further enhances the antioxidant defense system, which in turn protects against exercise induced free radical damage.

But how do anti-oxidants manage this? Antioxidants, give up an electron to the free radicals charging through our body, thus by providing the free radicals with the much needed electron they neutralize the free radicals and allow the body to excrete them safely and without harm. Though our body is capable of making several antioxidants on its own it still needs outside supplies such as foods containing anti-oxidants, to effectively counter the multiplying free-radicals. Fresh fruits and vegetables are natural sources which give a good supply of antioxidants. Regular and ample servings of fruits such as cranberries, blueberries and blackberries, along with vegetables like red beans and russet potatoes, take care of the anti-oxidant levels of our body. Along with fruits and vegetables, nuts like pecans and walnuts and certain spices such as cinnamon and pepper, are also great sources of anti-oxidants.

Furthermore, people who eat fruits and vegetables are known to have a lower risk of heart and some neurological diseases. Out of all the anti-oxidants essential to our body, the most important is glutathione; it is produced by our own body. Scientists consider glutathione as the “master antioxidant” because all the other anti-oxidants present in our body depend upon the presence of glutathione in order to function properly. Glutathione binds to toxins and forms a water-soluble complex which is ultimately excreted from our body in the form of urine or bile as waste.

Having taken a regular dose of anti-oxidant rich foods, one would notice increased energy in their body along with a regained sense of youth, anti-oxidants give us that kick which can never be derived from caffeine or other stimulants that effect for a short while and then wear off. Anti-oxidants also help protect our body from the effects of a weakened immune system that comes from a lack of adequate self care. However, increased energy and a sense of better health aren't the only reasons why anti-oxidants are good for our body, they also help your body to work more effectively from filtering out toxins to improving the cardiovascular function to maintaining the health of your eyes, and you’ll find that antioxidants just help you to feel better. Though today our food supply is degraded increasingly by the harmful growing practices and soil depletion, and agricultural food can no longer be relied upon to protect us from the oxidative stress all around us. Additional healthy supplies of free-radical-neutralizing antioxidants do the trick.

While one may not always be able to eat balanced meals, or always be able to make time physical activity, you'll find that increasing the antioxidants supply of your body doesn't require much time at all but still offers many of the same benefits.  



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