What are antioxidants?
They are molecules that prevent oxidation or cellular damage generated by toxic substances called free radicals, which circulate throughout the body and damage the DNA or genetic structure of cells, inflame and deteriorate.
Antioxidants are natural or man-made substances that can prevent or delay some types of damage to cells.
Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements.
The term antioxidant refers to the activity that numerous vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals have on substances considered harmful, called free radicals.
Free radicals can chemically react with other components of cells (oxidizing them) altering their stability and functionality.
Your body uses antioxidants to balance free radicals. This prevents them from causing damage to other cells.
Antioxidants can protect and reverse some of the damage. They also increase their immunity.
Examples of antioxidants include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Free radicals can increase in our body with:
- Intake of junk food and processed foods (industrialized foods).
- Lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle.
- Low water intake.
- Physical or mental stress.
- Chronic diseases without proper treatment.
chemicals that your body produces by converting food into energy; environmental toxins, such as tobacco, alcohol, and pollution; ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds;
substances found in processed foods.
Fruits and vegetables
Vegetables and fruits are rich sources of antioxidants. There is ample evidence that the consumption of a diet with many vegetables and fruits is healthy and reduces the risk of suffering certain diseases.
But it is not clear if this is due to antioxidants, to something more present in food or other factors.
Supplements with high doses of antioxidants in some cases may be related to health risks.
For example, high doses of beta-carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
High doses of vitamin E may increase the risk of prostate cancer and a type of stroke.
Antioxidant supplements may also interact with some medicines. To reduce the risk, tell your healthcare provider about any antioxidant you take.
What are the properties of antioxidants
There is a considerable amount of scientific studies at the chemical level, cell cultures and animals that indicate that antioxidants can slow or possibly prevent the development of some diseases.
Like cancer or cardiovascular diseases, and other degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or aging itself.
However, the information from recent clinical trials conducted on people is much less clear.
For example, studies on antioxidants and cancer, made in populations in the 1990s, reached divergent conclusions depending on the type of population studied.
Many studies were done with antioxidant supplements, at doses much higher than those present in a varied and balanced diet, showing inconsistent results that were not extrapolated to a varied and balanced diet.
Why consume antioxidants?
In general, bad lifestyles generate cell damage and stress due to the accumulation of free radicals.
Which, if not reversed on time and in the right way, could have serious health consequences. Accelerate the aging process and predispose to the appearance of chronic, degenerative and carcinogenic diseases.
Antioxidants, on the other hand, protect the cells of the body from external aggressors or factors that predispose to their damage.
There is still much to be researched regarding antioxidants and oxidative stress of cells.
Where are the antioxidants?
The most abundant antioxidants are: Ascorbic Acid or vitamin C (it is not produced in the body, therefore it must be consumed), Vitamin E, carotenoids, polyphenols, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10, among others.
Antioxidants are found in fresh and natural foods in general. Especially in: Garlic, coffee grain, green tea, cauliflower, turnip, onion, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant, kion, pepper, carrot, spinach (almost all vegetables), all fruits (especially orange, red and yellow), citrus fruits, grapes, red wine, olives, rosemary, oregano, chocolate (cacao 70% plus).
The lack of antioxidants
It can affect us, in our health, in the following way:
Premature aging produced by the accumulation of free radicals.
Problems in the nervous system, being affected in diminishing the nervous impulse, the reflexes, the memory and the learning if it arrives to diminish the sanguineous irrigation at nervous level can get to suffer senile dementia.
Problems in the cardiovascular system, such as arteriosclerosis.
Low-fat diets affect the absorption of the antioxidants mentioned above. In addition, a diet low in fruits and vegetables contributes to our body does not have the necessary amount of antioxidants, and do not have enough strength to deal with free radicals.
Antioxidants and cancer
The studies are not conclusive, but they show that there may be a relationship between the consumption of antioxidants and the reduction of cancer risk.
Antioxidants and the heart
One of the causes of cholesterol is the oxidation of it in the arteries, and not only by the consumption of foods with high-fat content.
Therefore, consuming antioxidants can prevent this and protect our body from cardiovascular diseases.
Balanced diets are often the key to a healthy life because in this way we get our body to get all the necessary nutrients, including antioxidants.
It is recommended to pay special attention to the five daily servings of fruits and vegetables in forms as easy to prepare as fruit and vegetable salads, homemade juices or desserts that include fruits.
ANTIOXIDANTS prevent excessive wear and cell aging in situations of high energy demand such as stress, chronic diseases, great physical or mental efforts or simply the passage of time.
Small amounts are needed that vary with age, physical activity, eating habits and health conditions of people.
If we integrate to the daily table Fruits, Vegetables, Cereals as much as possible integral and dairy. In an orderly diet that includes these foods permanently, the antioxidants necessary to optimize the functioning of our systems are present.
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