Antioxidants are good for the overall health of the body. They prevent the harmful effects of free radicals inside the body, such as cellular damage and cancer formation. They are also said to slow down the aging process. Human beings, however, cannot run away from free radicals because they are products of important processes inside the body. The body has natural antioxidants of its own, but they're not enough to get rid of all the free radicals. That's why health experts encourage everyone to eat healthy foods regularly, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of antioxidants, as well as vitamins, fibers and minerals.
Effectivity of Antioxidant Capsules
Antioxidant capsules have become popular due to people's awareness of their own health practices. Most individuals know they are not taking enough nutrients from their regular eating habits and are taking the short cut to provide nutrition for their bodies by taking antioxidant supplements in capsule form. There are also some tendencies for people to take high doses of these supplements, believing that they don't have any harmful effects. However, high doses of antioxidants, such as Vitamins A, C and E, can in fact be toxic to the body.
There are several studies stating that antioxidant supplements do not protect people from free radicals and cancer formation. In some studies, using beta carotene antioxidants can somehow increase the risk of lung cancer in the smoking population. Although most of these studies showed little benefits of taking antioxidants in capsule forms, there are some studies pointing to the positive effects of selenium in preventing gastrointestinal cancer. More studies are still going on exploring the benefits of selenium.
Antioxidant Capsules vs Antioxidants in Foods
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants. Natural antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are Vitamin C and E, beta carotene and selenium.
There are available antioxidant capsules containing individual antioxidants or a combination of them all. Many studies, however, have shown that taking them in capsule form does not give the body the health benefits of antioxidants as compared to eating antioxidant-rich foods. Many health groups are therefore endorsing the practice of regular healthy eating habits and encourage people not to rely too much on food supplements for their protection from all forms of cancers and diseases.
Food Sources of Antioxidants
Antioxidants can be found in many food sources. Fruits and vegetables containing Vitamin C are broccoli, oranges, banana, papaya, cantaloupe, cauliflowers and strawberries. Vitamin E is found mostly in vegetable oils, peanuts and turnip greens. Sources of beta carotene, which is a precursor of Vitamin A, are carrots, sweet potato and spinach.
Another important antioxidant is selenium, which is needed by the body in small amounts. It is found in meats, fish and eggs. There are also antioxidants called polyphenols, which can benefit the body. These are mostly found in red wines, coffee, teas and chocolate.