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types of cancers
natural antioxidants
diabetes symptoms
lower cholesterol
solar radiation
emotional stress
food preservatives
chemical compound
What Are Antioxidants & Free Radicals
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What Are Antioxidants & Free Radicals

Antioxidants and Free Radicals

There has been a lot of talk in the health food and wellness communities about antioxidant rich foods and the benefits that they may or may not have for your health. In general, most people have heard about antioxidants, but don't know what they are, or how they can affect your health. Fortunately, there is some reliable information out there that you can view that will help you sort through all the clutter out there.

What are "antioxidants"?

Antioxidants in general are really just any chemical compound which prevents oxygen, or oxygen-based compounds from reacting with other substances. One common example is WD-40, which prevents oxygen and water from reacting with metal, causing it to rust. Something similar happens in your body, too.

You're exposed every day to all kinds of things that stress and damage your body, such as solar radiation (UVA/B), airborne pollutants, and various types of food preservatives. Emotional stress also impacts your body's physical health as well. Such stresses can lead to a buildup of compounds known as free radicals, which can potentially lead to health problems or premature aging. Antioxidant rich foods can help reduce this kind of damage.

What are "free radicals"?

Simply put, free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can bond to, and can sometimes damage, your body's cells. Recent research indicates that these damaging chemical reactions can lead to disease and early aging. The older you are, the more exposure to free radicals you can expect, unless you do something about the problem.

Restore balance with antioxidant rich foods

Emerging science suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants can help lower cholesterol, help with diabetes symptoms, and possibly also reduce your risk for some types of cancers. One of the most powerful natural antioxidants out there is the mangosteen fruit. This fruit comes from southeast Asia, and contains a special set of "super antioxidants" called "xanthones." Xanthones are found in high concentration in mangosteen fruits, and they demonstrate a much higher rate of free radical elimination than other "super fruits," such as blueberries and pomegranate.

How much of a difference is there? Different types of antioxidant rich foods are compared using a scientific chart called the "ORAC" scale. "ORAC" stands for "Oxygen radical absorbance capacity" and is a method of determining how effective substances are at neutralizing free radicals. On this scale, two of the most popular antioxicant rich foods, pomegranate and blueberry, are rated at about 3,000 and 13,000 ORAC units, respectively. Mangosteen, on the other hand, ranks from 20,000 to 110,000 ORAC units, depending on product quality.

Another factor to consider is lifestyle. Your body is exposed to many oxidative forces besides the kinds of foods you eat. If you're going to be outside for a while, be sure to apply sunscreen, especially if you have lighter skin. UVA and UVB radiation from the sun can damage skin tissue, and can lead to premature skin aging and an increased risk of cancer. One should also avoid tobacco products, which contain chemicals that can create similar problems over time.

Staying Healthy Every Day

Good health is the product of several things: the amount of excersise you get, what you put into your body, and what types of chemicals or radiation you expose yourself to. The key is consistency. You don't have to run five miles a day, or put yourself on an extreme diet to be healthy. Just commit to making 30 minutes at the gym or a walk around the block a daily routine. Likewise, you should maintain a well balanced diet which includes antioxidant rich foods. It's a small investment, but your body will thank you for it for years to come.


Street Talk

Brandon8  

Finally, someone who really knows their stuff!!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Lemuel  

Great article Andrew - full of useful information well-explained. I like your click-thrus, too.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Thanks! I try to make the most of my links and direct them to a page that has a lot of info in one spot so people don't have to do a bunch of google searches all over the place. I hate having to do that myself, so I figured I'd save everyone else the pain when reading my stuff.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Andrew, very informative! Thanks for sharing what are antioxidants and free radicals. I'm walking daily. Usually a mile to Mass and a mile back - though yesterday I got up late and needed to drive! You're right, this amount of exercise makes a huge difference. My body is thanking me already:-) Nicely done. Good job!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

That's good to hear! I just went to the gym and then took a little hike in this woods area near my house today. There's definitely a point of diminishing returns on exercise, diet, and everything else. A moderate amount will make you look and feel like night and day, while going extreme won't give you *that* many extra benefits.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks. Not much chance of me going extreme on exercise and diet and all:-) Though - I am on day 3 of my own 90 day cleansing to get all the toxins out of me. Stopping processed foods bit by bit. Today was, "No Diet Coke Day!" That gave me a headache since I've been filling up on Diet Coke for the caffeine as a substitute I'd learned about for pollen season. Instead of breathing steroids for the major pollen season. Will see how day 2 goes!

  
  about 1 decade ago
  

It may take you up to a week, Cynthia! I've known several people doing the same thing with coffee, and it can really mess you up. The good news is that the "one week" thing is pretty consistent, so if you can make it that far, you're probably going to be home free.

  
  about 1 decade ago
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