Antioxidants are substances that protect the cells from the damaging effects of free radicals by inhibiting oxidation or oxygen induced reactions. Free radicals play a role in the development of serious health conditions, like cancer and heart diseases.
There are several antioxidants present in various foods in the form of:
- Vitamins A, C and E
Each has its own functioning mechanism.
Where Can Antioxidants Be Found?
The best antioxidants are found in brightly colored vegetables and fruits such as:
- Berries and red grapes
Dried fruits, eggs and beans also have a considerable amount of antioxidants. Spices such as cloves contain antioxidants.
How Antioxidants Work
The cells in the body perform different functions. During the oxidation process, free radicals are released which damage the cells, DNA and proteins, thereby inviting diseases. Antioxidants help in combating these free radicals, and preventing the damage they cause to the cells. As the free radicals multiply rapidly, the antioxidants stabilize them. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene play an essential role in this process, which is known as chain-breaking.
Antioxidants also work through a process known as prevention. In this process, antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione, catalase etc., minimize the multiplication rate of free radicals. It means they hinder the chain initiation.
Health Benefits of Antioxidants
- Prevention of diseases Increase immune system
- Reduced cholesterol
- Improved vision
- Aging benefits
Usage of Antioxidants
Vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants. With this in mind, antioxidants from many food sources are added in different concentrations to formulate dietary supplements. Antioxidant supplements help to slow down the oxidation of molecules, thereby reducing the production of free radicals.
Skin care products containing antioxidants can enhance your skin texture and add protection from damage due to the sun's rays. They also help prevent chronic skin diseases, like rosacea and acne, which may be caused by systemic inflammation.
Supplements can be a great source of antioxidants that cannot be produced within the body. These supplements can help to prevent against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Including antioxidant rich foods in your daily diet will do great things to your health. But remember that too much of something, however good it is, is not a good idea.