What is Antioxidant?

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Antioxidants are elements of chemical nature that occur naturally and artificially. They are nutrients that contribute electrons and fight free radicals. Antioxidants can slow down the rate at which cells are damaged or stop it all together. Antioxidants are really not substances per se, but a behavior. Vegetables and fruits are important sources of normal antioxidants. Other natural sources are sea foods and marine plants. Major dietary antioxidant compounds include vitamins C, A and E, lycopene and beta-carotene. Antioxidants may be generated artificially and taken as supplements.

Free Radicals

Free radicals refers to chemically active molecular or atomic fragments that experience change as a result of less or excess electrons. Since they contain electrons that are unpaired or lose, free radicals are not steady. They hunt the body in search of electrons causing damage to body proteins, cells and genes. Free radicals originate both from within and outside the body. Oxidants developing from internal processes result from ordinary metabolism, inflammation and aerobic respiration while external processes result from environmental influences such as sunlight, pollution, X-rays, alcohol, and smoking.  Cells that are damaged by oxidation pile in the body as we go through life because our bodies do not have a perfect antioxidant system.

How Antioxidants Work

Antioxidants are the body’s front line defense mechanism; they what the body uses to prevent free radicals from causing harm to the cells. An antioxidant compound may donate electrons to an unsteady free radical to stop it from snatching electrons from a cell nearby. Antioxidants also repair the injuries instigated by free radicals on body cells. Evidence shows antioxidants work well when derived from whole meals as opposed to supplements. In some instances, supplements are said to increase the risk for cancer. A balanced diet that contains whole meals rich in antioxidants is recommended. If you take supplements, opt for those that have nutrients at recommended quantities.

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