Benefits Of Antioxidants

Written by Emily Ledbetter
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Antioxidants have been proven to slow the chemical process of oxidation in the body. Oxidation releases harmful free radicals into the system and has been associated with cholesterol deposits and narrowing of the arteries and can lead to various heart-related problems. Environmental pollution, tobacco smoking, stress, radiation and dietary fats all contribute to the level of free radicals in the body.

Antioxidants, consumed through foods or supplements, act to prevent the cellular and tissue damage caused by free radicals by destroying them before they are able to harm the body. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts all supply high levels of antioxidants. Supplements are also an effective method for increasing antioxidant levels in the body because they are formulated to combine a variety of powerful antioxidants into one pill.

Protecting the Body Against Disease

The damage caused by free radicals is thought to be at the root of most degenerative disease, inflammation and even the process of aging. By maintaining healthy levels of antioxidants through diet and supplements, the risk of disease may be decreased. It is important to note that antioxidant minerals or vitamins can act as pro-oxidants or damaging "oxidants" if they are consumed at levels significantly above the recommended dietary intakes.

Vitamin C, one of the most common antioxidants, is linked with a number of positive changes in the body including cancer prevention, lowering of cholesterol, general immune system function and reducing blood pressure. Another common antioxidant, Vitamin E, is associated with the prevention of heart disease, reduction in the risk of prostate cancer and slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Vitamin E may also reduce the symptoms of menopause and decrease the side effects associated with birth control pills.

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