Harmful effects of oxidants on human body
Human being requires oxygen for various processes in the body. These processes produce oxidants or free radicals. Oxidants can also get into the human body from outside through exposure to sunlight, other radiation and pollution, by consumption of unhealthy food, by smoking cigarettes, and by consuming alcohol.
Even stress can produce oxidants in the body. These oxidants cause damage to cells by breaking them down. This process is similar to rusting of iron. Oxidants are known to cause various forms of cancer, macular degeneration, heart diseases, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes and cataract. Oxidants expedite the ageing process and are real enemies of human system.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants protect and nurture human cells, there by promoting good health. They are molecules that reduce the harmful effects of oxidants by neutralizing them. They also repair damage caused to cells by oxidants. But unfortunately after neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants become inactive. That is why it is important to consume food containing antioxidants in abundance.
Sources of antioxidants
Consuming food rich in antioxidants is extremely beneficial for health. Some antioxidant enzymes like Catalase are produced in the human body. But it is necessary for the human body to consume diet rich in antioxidants. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrot, orange, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches, apricots, green peppers, strawberries, lemon, whole grains, vegetable oils, garlic, soy, grapes, cranberries, pomegranate, watermelon, kiwi, brussels sprout, flax seed, culinary herbs, rye, barley, oat meal, beans, corn, butternut squash, mango and spinach contain antioxidants in abundance. Food rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, phytochemicals and beta – carotene contain antioxidants. Dietary supplements are also available. But it is best to consult an expert before using them. It is also better to obtain antioxidants from foods instead of going for dietary supplements.
One can conveniently conclude that antioxidants are immensely beneficial for human body. Dr Richard Cutler, former director of the National Institute of Ageing, Washington has very appropriately said, “The amount of antioxidants in your body is directly proportional to how long you will live”. After reading this article, go ahead and have a glass of grape juice.