Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidative damage, a process which can create chain reactions and free radicals that can harm the living cells of human beings. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, L-cysteine, flavonoids, quercetin, selenium, lutein, lycopene, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, superoxide dismutase, T antioxidant and so on can serve to protect the living tissues from oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which one chemical compound damages another. These chemicals can be produced by the body through normal physiological processes, but exposure to environmental irritants or toxins can accelerate oxidation reactions and create free radicals.
Normally, the body produces antioxidants as part of its immune defense system against infectious disease, cancer, and inflammation. But sometimes, it cannot keep itself updated with sufficient supply of antioxidants. When this happens, the free radicals start to do excessive damage. Free radicals can disrupt healthy cell function and cause cellular damage which leads to various types of diseases. To avoid this, we need to replenish our antioxidants in our body so that they can perform their duties well.
The results of nutritional deficiencies in children and increased risk of chronic diseases are direct results of increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. When antioxidants depletion occur, free radicals continue to create plaque deposits that block blood vessels and increase risk of heart disease. Antioxidants have been known to slow down the aging process in both animals and humans. Antioxidants can help in the prevention of certain cancers like colon, prostate and breast cancers.
Since antioxidants enhance overall health, we should include foods that contain antioxidants in our diet. The best sources of antioxidants are brightly colored fruits and vegetables; whole grains, and legumes. Although antioxidant-rich foods are more expensive, eating them on a regular basis is a good practice. Studies show that antioxidants from green tea can help prevent and reduce cardiovascular disease.
Although there are many fruits and vegetables rich with antioxidants, fruits are the most effective source of vitamins and minerals while vegetables are less effective. Fruits and vegetables are rich source of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta carotene, lycopene, flavonoids and polyphenols are some of the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. They are responsible for protecting our cells from damage and hence are antioxidants.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, some plants and herbs are also rich sources of antioxidants. For example, carrots contain beta carotene which is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It helps to maintain healthy skin and hair, maintains healthy stomach and digestion, maintains healthy eyesight, and improves circulation. Beta carotene also helps to protect against cataracts. Eating carrots regularly helps to maintain a healthy body weight, strong nails, teeth and gums, healthy bones and muscles, and a strong heart. A diet rich in antioxidants is a healthy diet and is recommended for overall health.
There are many other fruits and vegetables and a number of other nutrients like flavonoids, fiber, magnesium, etc., which are all equally important as antioxidants. However, these nutrients are only considered as good sources of antioxidants if they are consumed in large quantities. Carrots are one of those fruits and vegetables which are highly recommended for a healthy diet and good health. Carrots are also one of the most affordable and easily available fruits and vegetables. Another reason for including carrots in your diet is that they are one of the few fruits that are in their entire natural state – without having to process them.
To get the most out of your diet, it is advisable to combine a variety of foods like fruits and vegetables in a sensible way so that you do not go overboard with any single food group or with any single type of food. This is one way in which a balanced diet can help you to achieve the desired results. For more information about the best sources of antioxidants, you could always consult your local nutritionist or the local library. These are some great ways in which you can ensure that you get sufficient amounts of antioxidants in your daily diet. So eat well and stay healthy.