The Newbie’s Guide to Antioxidants


The metabolization of oxygen by the body releases damaging by-products which effect cell membranes and other structures like cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. Antioxidants act as cell protectors, thwart these harmful by products, called free radicals, by binding with them, thus converting them into non-damaging compounds, before they have a chance to cause any harm. Degenerative effects of free radical can cause widespread damages to several organs of the body including the eyes, the heart and even affect the entire immune system. Thus antioxidants are critical to prevention of illnesses and to increase longevity.

In order to bolster the body’s defense mechanism, and to counter this activity by free radicals, a lot of research is being done to study how the quantity of antioxidants can be included in the diet or added through a dietary supplement.

Types of antioxidants and their sources

There are a variety of antioxidants, including vitamins A, B-5, C, E, selenium, zinc, manganese, flavonoids, lycopene, luteins, and carotenes among others. The effects of a diet rich in foods that contain antioxidants is a subject of great interest to researchers across the world. For instance it has been observed that a diet rich in tomatoes, which contains the antioxidant lycopene, can help reduce the incidence of prostrate cancer in men.

Different types of antioxidants are found in a variety of foods and therefore it is recommended that ones eat a healthy diet of varied fruits and vegetables. For instance manganese is found in milk and nuts as well as seafood; beta-carotene is found in carrots, spinach pumpkin and parsley, vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits, strawberries, capsicum and broccoli.

Antioxidant supplements

Scientific evidence suggests that antioxidants are far more effective when consumed in their naturally occurring form rather than in tablet form through supplements. High levels of antioxidants, much above the recommended dietary intake, can also be damaging to the body. So the best answer is to have a balanced diet. However, if you are an athlete or a fitness enthusiast, or if you maintain irregular eating habits you may be advised to have nutritional supplements containing antioxidants. Do consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Jack Smith writes about various topics. This article is free to re-print as long as nothing is changed, all links remained intact, the bio remains in full and the rel=”nofollow” tag is not added to any of the links. Thank-you – Please visit Vitamin Spot []

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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