Antioxidants are useful in maintaining cell integrity. They bind to free radicals produced from oxidative reactions going on inside the body. The release of free radicals can have useful and harmful effects to the cells. Cells must undergo many important proceses in order to function properly. In most of these cellular reactions, release of free radicals often occur. Although free radicals are useful in the defense of the body toward infection, their presence in large numbers inside the body can create changes in cells which are not in accordance to normal growth. Some affected cells can die or age prematurely, while others can develop changes that can result to cancer formation.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are agents that can neutralize the effects of free radicals inside the body, thus leading to healthy cell functioning. It acts by stopping the reactions that can lead to the production of free radicals. When the level of antioxidant is low in the body, oxidative stress often occur, leading to the production of many free radicals and eventually harmful cellular changes. Examples of antioxidants are Vitamin A, C and E, beta carotene, glutathione and melatonin. These are most often found in a healthy diet. Vitamin supplementation works as well.
There are many benefits that antioxidants can provide the human body:
Good for the Skin
Because antioxidants protect cells from premature death, the skin stays youthful and is prevented from becoming dry and scaly. Dry skin can often lead to abrasions, and wrinkle formation. With the aid of antioxidants, the skin is able to maintain its suppleness and smooth texture, and prevent infections caused by frequent skin abrasions. Sources of antioxidants that promote good skin are foods rich in Vitamin A, C and E. Green tea, as well as lycopene and lutein, are also great for the skin.
Promote a Strong Immune System
The immune system function is enhanced by the presence of antioxidants in the blood. Examples of foods that contain antioxidants, which help in immune system performance, are:
Turmeric is also found to promote good memory, as well as protect the joints from inflammation.
Good for the Heart
Antioxidants found in olive oil and grapes promote a healthy cardiovascular system. They act by clearing the body of free radicals, preventing blood clot formations from occuring inside the vessels and increasing the level of good cholesterol in the blood circulation. They also prevent hardening of the arterial walls.
Aid the Digestive System and Respiratory Tract
Digestion and respiratory processes are enhanced by antioxidants found in mangosteen. Mangosteen’s also have positive effects on the joints, as it carries anti-inflammatory properties.
What Are the Foods Rich in Antioxidants?
Antioxidants can be found in most food sources. Fruits and vegetables are very rich in antioxidants.
Here are some food sources which are truly rich in antioxidants:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green Tea
- Olive Oil
Be sure to include these in your diet, and reap the health benefits!