The cells of the human body need oxygen for metabolism. But when there are excessive oxygen molecules and other free radicals that are formed due to other cellular reactions, they cause infinite damage to the body. These unstable oxygen molecules are referred to as free radicals and they are cited as an important cause for many chronic diseases. These free radicals are highly reactive chemical substances that travel throughout the body and wreak havoc on the cells. We are also exposed to free radicals in the atmosphere. Cigarette smoke and pollution contribute to free radical cell damage.
It is believed that large amounts of free radicals cause the skin to wrinkle and lose its elasticity. Aging also sets in with reduced immunity and loss of memory. Antioxidants are known to reduce the oxidization in the mitochondria, thereby slowing the process of aging. This slows down the aging processes such as sagging tissues and deterioration in bodily organs. A body has reduced antioxidant defense capacity as it ages. Therefore, it is necessary to keep up the antioxidant levels with natural substances and supplements.
Antioxidants work as scavengers of these free radicals. When the body has insufficient antioxidants, it can lead to significant damage and disease. Boosting the body’s defense mechanism with adequate amounts of natural antioxidants and antioxidant supplements can boost body resilience and reduce the chances of disease.
Foods rich in natural antioxidants are tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and pepper. Vegetables and fruits that have rich color are high in phytonutrients. These are probably the best-known natural antioxidants.
Blueberries, spinach, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, plum, raisins, grape fruit, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, onion, corn and mangoes are also natural storehouses of antioxidants.
Citrus fruits are rich sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Vegetable oils such as olive oil, soybean oil, safflower oil and whole grains such as wheat, brown rice and soybean also provide natural antioxidants.
Antioxidant supplements include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper and Zinc. Other antioxidant enriching substances are green tea extract, gingko biloba and flavonoids such as grape seed extract and red wine. Taking antioxidant supplements is not to create an artificial antioxidant defense system but instead to boost the body's own enzymatic antioxidant defense system.