What’s the deal with antioxidants? Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body against diseases related to damage to tissues and cells from highly reactive substances. Watch now.
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit the oxidation of other substances by stabilizing and neutralizing free radicals. Low levels of free radicals in the body are normal and can be beneficial. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of metabolic reactions in the body and play a vital role in our immune system function. However, too many free radicals can lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can destroy cell membranes, proteins, RNA, and DNA, and thereby contribute to chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Antioxidants can play an important role in mitigating these potential chronic diseases. Here are a few antioxidants and their health promoting benefits: Vitamin C found in citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables protects DNA, RNA, and cell membranes. Vitamin E found in sunflower seeds and almonds protects cellular membranes. Carotenoids, a phytochemical found in pumpkin and carrots act as a free radical scavenger. Vitamin A found in leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, in the precursor form of beta carotene, protects cellular membranes and reduces inflammation. Selenium is an essential trace mineral and powerful antioxidant that helps to regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin C.
It is apparent that the benefits of antioxidants work in combination with each other along with phytochemicals and micronutrients in food to protect the body against oxidative stress from free radicals. The benefits of eating antioxidant-rich foods come from the entire package of nutrients in whole foods, a combination that can’t be replicated in a supplement. Therefore, eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will provide you with the health promoting benefits that antioxidants offer.
Thanks for joining this Patient Empowerment Network program. Please remember to ask your healthcare team what may be right for you.