WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants are compounds found in food that stop or delay damage to the cells. They are naturally found in many foods, especially plants. They help ward off cell damage by cleaning up or removing waste products in our cells, called free radicals before they can do us harm
Antioxidants are released from the foods we eat through digestion and travel through the bloodstream and into cells where they do work on free radicals.
Free radicals' is a general term used for compounds that are highly reactive, which means that that can attach and bind to and ultimately damage the cells in the body, such as DNA. Free radicals are most often involved in cell damage that leads to cancer development.
Free radicals can be caused by outside sources, such as smoking or toxins, but a lot of them come from healthy metabolism in the body. Thus, we can control them to some degree, for example, by not smoking or overeating but not entirely.
The body has built-in defences to reduce the impact of free radicals, but it could use some help. That’s where antioxidants come in.
These molecules bind to free radicals, thereby potentially reducing harm to molecules such as DNA. Once bound to antioxidants, free radicals are no longer free to bind with and potentially damage any parts of your cells.
Many plants contain compounds that act as antioxidants.
Vitamins that act as antioxidants include vitamin a, vitamin c, vitamin e, and the mineral selenium. Other non-vitamin substances that act as antioxidants include lutein and lycopene.
There are many other, lesser-known compounds in foods that, at least in laboratory settings, have been shown to have antioxidant properties.
We’re talking tens of thousands of compounds, potentially but it’s difficult to know for sure how well or how many of them adequately protect your body from free radical damage.
It's tough to tell how vital each antioxidant compound is in the human body. For one thing, there are just so many. And what's more, a laboratory test can't tell us how something acts once it's in our digestive system and bloodstream.
In the body, it has first to be absorbed in the intestine, then get to the appropriate organ in high enough concentrations, and then get to the precise part of the cell that experiences free radical damage. Also, there are so many compounds that many interactions are possible.
This all makes it pretty much impossible to pinpoint how vital one specific antioxidant may be to our health. What we can do, however, is pinpoint particular foods that have proven health benefits, which may be attributable to the antioxidants in them.
By studying certain foods high in antioxidants and how they impact disease risk, experts can make recommendations as to what we should eat more of. For example, tomatoes, which are high in a potent antioxidant, lycopene, appear to be associated with a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Foods high in beta-carotene appear to be associated with a lower risk of breast cancer particularly, estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, and coffee, which is high in many antioxidants, seems beneficial for some liver diseases including liver cancer.
Coffee has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food. But whether or not those benefits come directly from the antioxidants, some other compounds, or a combination is still pretty tricky for researchers to confirm.
Loading up on antioxidant-rich foods will boost your health, regardless of the role these compounds play.
The vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant properties are essential nutrients, meaning that we need them for other aspects of our health. So no matter what, you should be eating them regularly. Antioxidant-rich foods include, but are certainly not limited to: tomatoes, carrots, oranges and grapefruits, blueberries and strawberries, beans, nuts, apples, red wine, green tea, broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.
Antioxidants aside, fruits and veggies pack other essential vitamins and minerals, plus macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates, as well as fibre and water. There are countless reasons to eat them daily.
Aim for five to seven servings of fruits and veggies each day, and sticking to the most colourful to make the most antioxidant-packed choices. Don’t forget about whole grains, coffee, and tea, too. Try strive for variety a proper diet should contain a broad spectrum of plant foods.
Since studies can’t tell us if it’s the antioxidants specifically or other components of an antioxidant-rich food that is responsible for the positive health benefits, so it's best to get antioxidants from whole foods or powders instead of alternative supplements, that way, you’ll get the health perks regardless of what specific mineral or compound turns out to be responsible for them.
Antioxidants fight off free radicals and berries are nature's super-foods and these small fruits are packed with
Vitamins and antioxidants. Juicing berries is a delicious way to add essential nutrients to your diet as part of a healthy juicing lifestyle!
Some of the best berries for eliminating free radicals.
The human body is made of cells and other molecular components. These components freely interact and react with other molecules that enter the body, and therefore, reactions take place. Free radicals in the collection are known to cause chain reactions by eliminating an electron from the nearest stable molecule.
This occurs as the free radical tries to gain stability. The molecule, from which an electron is eliminated, becomes a free radical itself. Hence, free radicals cause an endless chain of reactions that can eventually disrupt a living cell.
Fighting free radicals in the body has, however, proven to be an easy task. All it takes is checking on the kind of foods one eats or drinks. Foods that contain high levels of antioxidants are recommended for the elimination of free radicals in the body.
Though researchers have discovered very few antioxidants, they are known to be a vital part of human health. Most berries and brightly coloured vegetables are known to contain these antioxidants, which help prevent free radical effects.
For instance, raspberries contain an antioxidant known as ellagic acid. A cup of juiced raspberries in the diet plays a massive role in one’s good health and well-being due to its high antioxidant value. Raspberries also have high phenol and anthocyanin levels that have been attributed to having anti-cancer benefits.
They also help to curb symptoms caused by inflammation. Blueberries also contain high levels of anthocyanin and drinking a cup of blueberry juice would, therefore, reduce inflammation symptoms in the body as well. Cranberries also fall in the category of fruits and berries with high antioxidant levels.
The most crucial antioxidant in cranberries is vitamin c, which is necessary for healthy growth and development of the human body. Blackberries also contain ellagic acid, and therefore a sip of blackberry juice contains high levels of antioxidant s as other berries.
Strawberries, which are favourite berries to most people, also form an important part of berries with high antioxidant levels. They contain phytonutrients and a cup of strawberry juice will ensure that the body is off free radicals. It also enhances the normal body growth and development due to the high levels of vitamin c in strawberries.
Acai berries also contain high anthocyanin levels, and therefore a cup of its juice would play a huge role in cancer prevention, boosting heart health, promoting skin health and has anti-ageing effects.
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, contain well over twenty vitamins and have wealth in antioxidants hence giving the body strong immunity against inflammation.
With the awareness of their benefits, juices from these berries are therefore the best for fighting free radicals in the body and preventing any related symptoms.