Antioxidants are the very reason that you are told to eat foods such as brightly coloured berries. These are molecules that work to prevent cellular damage in every cell of the body and are the result of normal bodily processes and exposure to certain environmental toxins.
The health benefits of antioxidants may reside in their ability to prevent of slow the oxidation of molecules in the most microscopic parts of your body such as in the DNA or proteins.
In many ways the damage done by free radicals is similar to the rusting of your car- rusting, after all, is the reaction of iron with the very oxygen radicals that rust our bodies.
Antioxidants act to neutralize free radicals. And when our defenses are overwhelmed with chemicals, viruses, bacteria, or mutant cancer cells this is when our bodies can benefit from extra antioxidants.
Eating foods that high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, also called ORAC value, and taking certain antioxidant supplements all help our cells do their jobs without sustaining significant damage.
If the body has too few antioxidants then the stress of too many oxidation processes may mutate DNA and damage or kill cells. And when enough cells are killed or damaged then illness and disease will result- such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, arthritis, and accelerated aging.
Boost your immune system and improve your resistance to disease by increasing your antioxidant levels. Their presence in your diet and levels in your blood may prove to be the best marker yet of your power to delay death and prevent disease. The most important are:
- Vitamin A- found in meat and fish
- Vitamin C- abundant in raw fruits and vegetables
- Vitamin E- found in seed foods
- Beta- carotene- found in red, orange, and yellow fruit and vegetables