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Healthy Eating: The Health Benefits of Antioxidants

The following article is about healthy diet habits

Antioxidants are molecules capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. These substances can protect cells in your body from free radical damage resulting from exposure to smoking, radiation, pollution and other chemicals. When the body cells use oxygen, they produce free radicals. Antioxidants prevent and repair damage done by these compounds. Oxidative damage often leads to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and macular degeneration. A diet rich in antioxidants helps prevent these diseases and strengthens the immune system.

Why Do You Need Antioxidants?

Scientists believe that the amount of antioxidants in your body determines how long you will live. Antioxidants boosts the immune system, slow the aging process, and reduce the risk of cancer. These natural substances increase the body's resistance to cold and flu, enhance energy levels, and improve sleep. They also help in controlling diabetes and reduce inflammation. If you eat foods rich in antioxidants on a regular basis, your will get softer, younger-looking skin. Antioxidants can have an impact on just about any aspect of your health.

These natural compounds protect every cell and membrane in the body against oxidative damage. Free radicals are dangerous because they set up a chain reaction that can quickly damage a large number of molecules. Oxidative stress is one of the main factors responsible for the development of age-related disorders, nerve damage, heart disease, deterioration of the eyes, and joint inflammation.

The human body is able to neutralize these substances on its own, but external factors such as alcohol, smoking, and radiation can cause an overload of free radicals that the body is unable to cope with. Antioxidants increase its ability to fight against free radicals and repair damaged cells. A diet rich in antioxidants lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, immune dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and arthritis.

Sources of Antioxidants

Research indicates that there are over 4,000 compounds with antioxidant properties, including catechins, selenium, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and polyphenols. The simplest way to expose yourself to antioxidants is through your diet. Most fruits and vegetables contain significant amounts of antioxidants. Make sure your diet includes berries, coconut oil, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, whole rice, raw nuts, grapes, cloves, acai berry, blueberries, strawberries, and sweet peppers.

Tea is one of the best sources of antioxidants. All teas from the Camellia plant contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body. Just about any antioxidant you can find in food is available as a dietary supplement. If you want to fully enjoy the health benefits of these natural compounds, it is recommended to eat a balanced diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables.

Written by Dominic H Milner
Original Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Healthy-Eating:-The-Health-Benefits-of-Antioxidants&id=7288523

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