How Antioxidants Benefit Your Health


Antioxidants Benefits


First of all, what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are protective substances in the body that neutralize unstable molecules known as free radicals. The body develops them when its atoms gain or lose charged particles called electrons. Though too many free radicals can severely damage body cells, causing cancer, HBP, heart disease and diabetes, moderate amounts of free radicals are not bad. In addition to other biological processes, they enhance cell division, facilitate cell-to-cell communication and body defence.

Health Benefits of Antioxidants

 Antioxidants help to prevent cancer


Studies on antioxidants suggest that antioxidants help prevent some of the damage free radicals inflict on human organs that can cause cancer. However, further research is necessary to determine if antioxidants from foods are really potent enough to reduce cancer risk.

They help to keep your eyes healthy

Statistically, the most common reason for permanent vision loss among adults over 60 is macular degeneration or AMD. It occurs when the macula, an indispensable tissue situated deep in the back of your eye, starts wearing away. With time, it can cause you to lose your central vision field.

With adequate antioxidants in your body, your chances of lowering AMD may decrease by up to 25%. And if you have AMD, they can assist you to keep your vision intact.

Consuming antioxidants via both vitamins C and E can lower your chance of getting cataracts and help you maintain better vision longer.

They to promote heart health

The ability of antioxidants to help lower the chances of heart disease remains a subject of debate in many medical circles. However, early research has shown that eating more fruits and vegetables decreases the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

However, follow-up studies on the effectiveness of antioxidant supplements have not shown the same benefits. According to some scientists, a higher concentration of antioxidants in supplements is responsible for the failure.

You have to stick to food-based antioxidants as the secret to getting the benefits above though more research needs to ascertain the connection further.


Essential Things to Consider When Taking Antioxidants

While antioxidants benefit your health in several ways, below are essential things to note, especially if you consume antioxidant supplements.

1. If you consume antioxidant supplements, they may interact with the medication that you are taking for some other condition.

2. If you’re a smoker who takes beta-carotene in high doses, your risk of lung cancer increases. If you consume excess vitamin E, your chance of developing prostate cancer and stroke goes up.
 

Remember that we need to consume loads of dietary antioxidants to reduce free radical damage. We also need a wide range of them. Different antioxidants fight against several types of free radicals. So, taking vitamin C alone won’t neutralize the different kinds of free radicals in action. See a few examples of this in the table below: 

Where to Find Antioxidants

The table below shows foods rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
        

ANTIOXIDANT

     FOOD SOURCES

Vitamin C       

Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit), sweet potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower

Vitamin E       

Vegetable oils, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fortified cereals, wheat germ

Carotenoids   

Carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter squash

Selenium

Whole grains, nuts, meat, seafood

Discuss with your healthcare provider about every medication and supplement you take. Doctors are the only ones to help us determine whether what we take is safe or not.