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Free Radicals, Anti-oxidants and Your Health

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Author: Steven A Johnson

Antioxidants are very important to combat damage to cells, they aid in the prevention of cancer, aging, and many diseases. The scientific community has begun to make headway understanding the purpose that antioxidants serve in our diets and how they affect our health.

Free radicals are atoms or groupings of atoms with an odd number of electrons. They form when oxygen mixes with specific molecules. Once free radicals have formed, they are able to begin a chain reaction. Free radicals can cause damage in the body when they react with other vital cellular workings such as DNA, or cell membranes. If this occurs it may cause the affected cells to function weakly or in some cases cause death of the cell. The body has its very own preventative method of antioxidants to destroy free radicals and prevent free radical damage from occurring.

Antioxidants are molecules that safely work together with free radicals and stop the chain reaction before important molecules suffer damage. There are a few different enzymes inside the body that can located free-radicals, the primary vitamin antioxidants are vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Also it should be noted that the chemical element selenium, which is a trace metal necessary for proper function of one of the few antioxidant enzyme systems, can and is sometimes incorporated into this category. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in the diet.

Vitamin E : Is perhaps one of the most important vitamins that the body needs, it is a fat soluble vitamin found in many different foods. Some examples of foods with vitamin E are nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish oils, whole grains, and apricots. The recommended daily allowance for women is 12IU and for men per day the allowance is 15 IU.

Vitamin C : Also called Ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a vitamin most commonly known for its presence in citrus fruits and juices. It can also be found in high doses in green peppers, broccoli, spinach, cantaloupe, cabbage, kiwi, and strawberries. The recommended daily allowance is 60 mg. Some negative side effects have been associated with an intake above 2000 mg per day. It is best to always consult your health care provider if you have any concerns about the dosage that is right for you.

Beta-carotene: Is a derivative of vitamin A. Foods that contain vitamin A are liver, egg yolk, butter, milk, carrots, spinach, squash, broccoli, yams, peaches, tomato, cantaloupe, and grains. The body converts vitamin A to beta-carotene and because of this transition there are no set requirements. It should be noted that Vitamin A by itself has no antioxidant properties and has the potential to be toxic when taken in large amounts.

Antioxidants and a healthy daily diet combined with enough exercise can help reverse the negative effects of free radicals. It is important to follow a daily diet that promotes regular exercise combined with 5 servings of fruits or vegetables daily. By following a balanced diet this will guarantee that you are building up your antioxidant systems inside your body and that your diet is allowing the formation of free radical fighting antioxidants. If you are one of the many "weekend warriors" you may want to consider a balanced approach to exercising. If you are unable to exercise regularly supplements may be a good addition to your diet. Make sure to not over-supplement and follow the recommended doses!

All natural products are a great alternative to traditional supplements; one product you may be interested to try if you are going to join the battle against free radicals is Resveratrol.Resveratrol is concentrated to give you powerful antioxidant support and help to slow the natural aging process. The power of antioxidants can help reduce the risks of disease such as cancer and type-2 diabetes!

Steven Johnson is interested in maintaining a vital and healthy lifestyle. For more information on various health products and other life-enhancing nutrients please visit his website


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