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Let's Talk About Antioxidants
More than Just a Buzz-Word: What Are Antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemicals (both naturally occurring and man-made) that can prevent or slow cell damage. An "antioxidant" is actually not a substance; it is a behavior. Any compound that can donate electrons and counteract free radicals has antioxidant properties.
Natural antioxidants are mainly found in fruits and vegetables, marine plants, and some seafood that eat marine plants. There are thousands of antioxidant compounds out there, but the most common dietary ones are vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, and lycopene. Antioxidants can also be produced artificially and consumed in supplement form.
What Are Free Radicals?
Exposure to oxygen (aka oxidation) can "break" atoms, so they end up with unpaired electrons, which make them chemical loose cannons. These bad boys, called free radicals, are constantly on the hunt for spare electrons to stabilize their mixed-up atoms. Free radicals latch onto electrons from other cells, which can create a chain reaction of free radical-ness. Stealing nearby electrons means that the cell next door loses some of its electrons, therefore becoming a free radical in its own right.
Why Are Free Radicals a Bummer?
It is rarely a good idea to mess with cell structure, and it can get gnarly when the cells undergoing oxidative stress contain DNA. Oxidative stress has been linked to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, aging, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases, cognitive decline, and eye conditions like macular degeneration.
What Do Antioxidants Do?
If the human body were a baseball game, antioxidants would be the first baseman. Antioxidants are one of the first lines of defence that the body employs to keep free radicals in check and prevent them from causing a domino effect of damage on other cells. Antioxidant compounds can "donate" electrons to unstable free radicals so they don’t have to snatch electrons from unsuspecting nearby cells. Antioxidants can also help repair cell damage caused by free radicals.
Some of the better known applications of anti oxidants:
Slow the aging process
Prevent and fight disease
Improve memory and concentration
Improve immune function
Improve cardiac health
Improve eye health
Improve skin elasticity and integrity
Are you getting enough anti oxidants in your day?
Make a habit of having fresh vegetables with every meal, even breakfast
When you do not feel like cooking - make a green smoothie
Use plenty of herbs and spices: parsley, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, garlic
When disease strikes, a supplement may be required to “top up” your levels
When you need a supplement, my favourites are whole food based supplements such as:
Super greens powders such as "Vital Greens", "Nutra Organics" or "Natural Synergy"
Our organic herbal teas such as the Wellbeing Tea, Alklaise Me Blend, Hibiscus Tea, Rosehip Tea
There are time when the "big guns" are called for and a high strength high quality nutritional supplement is needed to assist in reverse disease, when fighting cancer, heart disease or any other chronic disease.
Contributed by Healing Naturally WA: get advice on the right products for your personal needs
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