Health Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are often mentioned in the same world where not eating bread for two weeks at a time or only consuming green smoothies for days in a row are considered normal dieting habits. Antioxidant rich foods are not a fad though, they are very vital to the human body. They combat oxidation that negatively impacts the health of the human body.
Oxidation occurs in the body when oxygen molecules become electrically charged by glucose. The process of oxidizing is also referred to as the molecules becoming radicalized. Just like when an apple is cut open and starts to brown, oxidized cell within the body will become damaged. When glucose and oxygen collide there is an explosion of sorts. This explosion creates heat and energy. This energy is essential to the human body.
Exercise is a good example of a time in which oxidation occurs. This is a normal process for the body, but it creates a lot of stress. When excessive amounts of oxidation is occurring or excessive amounts of free radicals are coursing through the body a lot of damage is done before the body has had enough rest to repair the cells. Free radicals can become excessive due to environmental factors; such as pollution, chemicals, processed foods, etc. Certain nutrients are required to repair the cells damaged by these free radicals and they are referred to as antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that can inhibit or counteract oxidation. Vitamins C and E, zinc, selenium, and beta-carotene are among the list of antioxidants. They are best absorbed when they are consumed from whole food sources. The human body is better able to discern what nutrients it needs when they come from natural whole food sources. Antioxidants are necessary for cleaning up free radicals. They are able to help prevent the oxidized cells from stealing electrons from other molecules.
The intake of antioxidants has many health benefits. While oxidation can cause several problems the opposite is true of repairing and preventing the damage of cells through the use of antioxidants. Antioxidants can slow down the aging process and helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, cataracts, and arthritis.
Some of the things that people find most distressing about aging are all of the physical tolls that are taken on their body – the dry, wrinkled skin, the lackluster glow, the sickness and disease, etc. Antioxidants help to combat the dry and wrinkled skin. Each of these things is caused by damaged cells but with a little help skin wrinkles are minimized, the skins natural “glow” is preserved, and they also help to protect against sun damage.
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide and run rampant upon other cells. They can spread through the lymph and blood systems within the body as well. There are over 100 types of cancer and they can be formed by free radicals that affect the cells genetic coding. When toxins are introduced into the body they can work as triggers of sorts that set off oxidation which will then cause diseases such as cancer. This is why it is so vital that the free radicals be cleared from the body.
Heart disease refers to blocked arteries that can cause strokes and other problems. The Mayo Clinic states that most forms of heart disease are preventable or treatable through healthy lifestyle choices. Unhealthy cells clog up the arteries and create problem, but these cells can be repaired through healthy dieting which enables antioxidants to enter the body and clean itself out. They can also repair damage done to the cell walls while the body was still being poisoned through bad health habits.
Cataracts are created when the cellular structures of the eye are broken down. They get broken down by free radicals. This can cause the lens to change from clear to cloudy after damaging lens cells as well. Cataracts are also cause in succession with medication and diseases such as diabetes. When putting toxins, such as medication into the body, it is essential to have the antioxidants to help combat the negative effects of the prescriptions. These same antioxidants can help repair cells before the cause damage to the eyes and can help with the degenerative diseases at the same time.
Finally arthritis is a symptom of oxidation. It is the result of free radicals causing inflammation as a response to antigens. Other environmental triggers (or things that can cause oxidation) include viruses and bacteria. These can be helped by repairing the cells. In fact that is the only way to fight viruses, because no medication can penetrate through cells, only whole food nutrients can.
Cellular health is vital to a healthy life. In order to gain back their health individuals should consume antioxidants from whole food sources on a daily basis. Getting antioxidants from meals isn’t enough though; antioxidants need to be found in a source that has high antioxidant content for maximum health benefits.