The Benefits of Antioxidants
During the interaction of certain types of molecules with oxygen, unpaired number of electrons are being formed in the body called radicals. These radicals which are
highly charged, start to exhibit successive reaction such dominoes. The likely danger comes in when the radicals react with vital components of cells like the cell
membrane or the DNA. These can make the cells to malfunction or completely die. To avert this problem, the body employs the antioxidants as its defense system.
Thus, since antioxidants can safely interrelate with the free radicals and end their chain reaction activities before any of the important molecules are affected, they
can be used to remedy or prevent certain diseases.
In the body, there are different types of enzymes in which they are feed by the free radicals; the standard vitamin (micro-nutrient) antioxidants comprise beta
carotene, vitamin E, and C. In addition, selenium which is a metal in nature, is also critically important for the proper functioning of one of the antioxidant systems in
the body and it is sometimes placed in this group. It is clear that these micro-nutrients are not manufactured in the body, and therefore they must be included in the
Food rich in Vitamin E include nuts, vegetables, whole grains, apricots, fortified cereals and fish oils. The RDA-recommended daily allowance varies from one gender
to other; for men 15 IU/day; women 12 IU/day.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C can be found in green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, cantaloupe and strawberries. The daily recommended
allowance is 60 mg, and anything above 2000 mg may result into negative side effects in certain people.
Beta-Carotene, a precursor to Retinal (Vitamin A)
Beta-Carotene is found in egg yolk, liver, butter, carrot, milk, broccoli, tomato, peach, yam, squash, grains and cantaloupes. Since beta-carotene is easily
transformed to vitamin A by the body, there is actually no requirement set. However, the RDA is simply expressed as “RE”. But a point to note is that there are no
antioxidant properties in vitamin A and if taken in excess amounts, it can cause toxic effects in the body.
Recent Evidences on the Effects on Antioxidants on Cancer Risk
According to a proven epidemiologic research, there is a risk reduction in the rate of cancer in people who dwell on diets which include vegetables and fruits. The
theory here is that the antioxidants contained in these foods protect the victims against cancer. Although, previous studies have not clearly defined the effects of diet
supplements containing antioxidants on the risk reduction of cancer development, currently scientists have intensified their research on this subject.
In a study that featured a male smoker cancer victim on an antioxidant diet versus another who did not take the supplement, the results were confusing as there was
an increased rate of cancer. It is not yet clear as to why this happened but it raises concern that when antioxidants are not used well, they can lead to adverse health
Exercises Plus Eating Antioxidants Rich Diet is the Key
It is believed that engaging in endurance exercises enhance the utilization of oxygen in the body by 10-20 times during rest period. As a result, the amount of free
radicals produced is increased which in turn raises concern about the dangers the tissues and muscles are exposed to free radicals by endurance exercising.
However, various concepts have come up and indicate that exercising regularly improves the antioxidant defense system and guards against the free radicals that are
induced by exercise. Therefore, this shows the ability of the body adapting to various exercise demands. The changes will occur gradually, and so it may take some
time to realize the results.
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Antioxidants are the compounds which are found in various food
and their main function is to neutralize the unstable molecules,
popularly known as free radicals released in the body through
the process of oxidation.
Functions of Antioxidants
Since they are capable of counterbalancing the effect of the
unstable molecules, antioxidants assist in the protection of cells
(seen as the origin of cancer, premature aging and other types of
related health conditions). Due to a global health concern, athletes
have recently shown great interest in consumption of foods hat contain
antioxidants. This is attributed to the mere fact that these foods are
thought to improve performance and faster recovery from workouts.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are basically compounds which are found in various foods and their main function are to neutralize the unstable molecules,
popularly known as free radicals that are released in the body through the process of oxidation. The free radicals have been largely
associated with diseases such as cancer, liver complications, and heart disease. In fact free radicals cause errors in the process of DNA
replication leading to the production of abnormal DNA that will cause cancer soon. Food obtained from plants, fruits, nuts, vegetables and
whole grains are the major sources of antioxidants. Many studies aimed at understanding the importance of antioxidants for health
generally, and for cancer prevention specifically.
Other Effects of Antioxidants on General Health
It is believed that antioxidants play a vital role in slowing down the process of aging, and they also provide protection against stroke and
heart disease; however, this is yet to be proven. Thus according to the public health, it is too early to draw conclusions on the use of
antioxidant diet supplement as a way of preventing diseases. Ongoing studies have indicated that in the next few years, more light will be
shed on the matter concerning antioxidants and health. Until then, the only advice is for you to ensure that you eat about five servings of
vegetables or fruits and supplements in your diet along with regular exercise everyday.