Properties and Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that protect the cells in our bodies from external and internal toxic effects. Oxidation is natural and essential for various vital processes. But in the course of such reactions harmful substances or free radicals are produced, these can be called a byproduct in various oxidation reactions. Free radicals are unstable molecules, capable of disrupting the delicate chemical balance of the body. These substances can also access the body from the external environment, from pollution, junk food and cigarette smoke.
In order to stabilize free radicals and prevent oxidation, the body produces several antioxidant enzymes. These antioxidants oxidize and bind with free radicals to stabilize and neutralize them. Oxidative damage can be caused by the lack of enough antioxidants, which may lead to health problems. It is important to eat enough antioxidant-rich foods daily.
Foods rich in antioxidant content are capable of preventing cellular damage that causes cancer and other conditions and diseases. Antioxidants are of benefit to people who want to be in robust health, plus they can fix previous damage to the cells. They are obtained from fruits, vegetables and similar foods. The best way to protect ourselves against free radicals and similar toxins is to eat antioxidant-rich foods.
Some of the better known antioxidant-rich foods:
- Berries are among the most antioxidant-rich foods; they are full of minerals, vitamins and fiber which assist in reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer. Some of the best sources are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
- Carrots have a high proportion of beta-carotene which is considered a potent antioxidant in the fight against cancer. Beta-carotene helps to reduce the risk of heart disease; it slows down the onset of arthritis, also reduces the risk of stomach, lung, and skin cancers. (To get the most antioxidant benefit from carrots they must be cooked.)
- Broccoli provides many health benefits for those who eat it. It has high levels of vitamin C, calcium, fiber and has a high amount of beta-carotene. It contains antioxidants that help to reduce the risk of ovarian, breast, and cervical cancers.
- Red grapes are valuable because they have a high amount of resveratrol and quercetin, strong antioxidants that help you to keep a healthier heart; they reduce the risk of osteoporosis, inflammatory diseases, and strokes, and protect the body against cancer.
- Tea is a terrific help to minimize the risk of some kinds of cancer, degenerative diseases, stroke, and heart disease. Black and green teas are exceptionally rich in their antioxidant content.
- Garlic is a medicinal plant that has been used for thousands of years due to its marvelous healing properties. The healing benefits of garlic are due to sulfur compounds, which also give it a strong smell. It strengthens the liver and immune system; lowers heart disease risk, digestion improves, and fights cancer by removing free radicals from the body. It is useful to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Garlic slows the process that hardens arteries (atherosclerosis) and poor circulation symptoms, headaches and fatigues. It protects against strokes by preventing the formation of blood clots.
- Citrus fruits have high vitamin C content, considered being an excellent antioxidant. It protects against damage caused by free radicals and protects the immune system. Among the many benefits of vitamin c, it helps to protect the body against stroke, cancer, and heart disease. These fruits are tremendously convenient for your health.
- Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which aids to reduce the risk of various cancers; they help to prevent macular degeneration, and strengthen the immune system. (Tomatoes must be cooked to get the most benefit from them.)
- Soy provides fiber, omega-3, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and protein. Soy is a better choice over animal products because it provides us with the amino acids needed for a healthier body. It may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and various cancers.
- Whole grains are needed by the body because they contain fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron and magnesium, plus phytochemicals and antioxidants. Eating whole grains protect against diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and prostate, colon, breast and liver cancers.
Include some of these foods in your daily diet to enjoy the best health benefits of antioxidants and minimize the damage provoked by free radicals. Foods rich in antioxidants can also strengthen the immune system.
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