Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard and read about antioxidants. That being said, are you wondering just, what is antioxidant? According to Wikpedia, “antioxidant is a molecule
that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules”. We naturally produce free radicals (also known as oxidation), internally by respiration, inflammation, and metabolism, as well as by external sources such as environment, sunlight, x-ray exposure, air pollution, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc. Put in simple terms, oxidation is our body’s equivalent to rust. The same process that turns peeled apples and bananas brown. Not what you want going on inside your body.
Research has shown that excessive oxidation within cells can cause damage to your DNA, inflammation, and in turn joint problems, stroke, Alzheimers, heart disease and even cancer. This is all pretty scary stuff, but there is something you can do to combat these debilitating effects of free radicals. Antioxidants to the rescue!
Do antioxidants work? There is a debate whether they are as effective as we think, but think about this: it is a well-known fact that fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants. And you know they are good for you. So, why anyone would question the benefits of antioxidants is beyond me.
Vitamin C: Water soluble, Bone and cartilage Citrus fruit, cantaloupe, kiwi, leafy green veggies. Notice how sprinkling cut fruit with lemon juice keeps it from turning brown? Well, it works the same way in your body: keeps free radicals away!
Vitamin E: Fat soluble, body organs Nuts, seeds, olives, leafy green veggies
Beta Carotene: Fat soluble, vision, osteo arthritis. Found in mango, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes
Selenium: Trace mineral, enzyme function Meat, brown rice, whole wheat bread, garlic
Antioxidant Enzymes: Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Glutathione repair oxidized DNA, protein and cell membranes
Co-enzyme (Q10) for energy production
Uric acid: Beneficial for DNA metabolism
Phytochemicals (in plants) promote good health
When it comes to staying young at heart and prolonging life, antioxidants will add vibrancy to your life, not just years. In the process of neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants themselves become oxidized, so it is very important to replenish your antioxidants on a regular basis.