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The Role of Antioxidants in the Human Body by Anthony Sims

When it comes to your personal healthy, what exactly is the role of antioxidants? Basically, antioxidants counter the negative effects of free radicals that come to us through pollution, chemicals, sun light and – especially – unhealthy food. This article focuses on the last factor, since that’s the one we can quite easily control.

Countering Free Radicals

First, let’s discuss the free radicals. They are groups of atoms that have a deteriorating effect on human body cells and our immune system, which speeds up the aging process and makes us more vulnerable to diseases. Today’s unhealthy foods contain a lot of free radicals, but tobacco and the environment play a role, too.

Free radicals are also formed as a natural by-product of our bodily functions. They are not entirely without good use. Every time we fight a cold, feel sexually aroused or try to remember something, our bodies are using free radicals at the molecular level. We also need free radicals to keep our blood vessels open, and to destroy certain bacteria and viruses, and to disarm cancer cells before they can grow into full-blown cancer.

But the effects of free radicals should be kept within limits, and arguably the best way to do this is by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidant is the group name for the minerals, vitamins, polyphenols and carotenoids that help to protect the human body against free radicals. Especially vitamins seem to be crucial for keeping the body healthy. Vitamin A can be found in dairy, fish and liver. Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits (like oranges) and bell pepper. Vitamin E occurs naturally in nuts, seeds, fortified cereals and particular oils. Lutein can be found in leafy green vegetables.

Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, before they can oxygenate and attack our health. Particularly, antioxidants shield our immune cells against free radicals, and encourage the creation of white blood cells, which help prevent bacteria from doing their damaging work. Antioxidants also support the enzymes that repair damages done to someone’s DNA, thereby helping the natural ability of human bodies to regenerate themselves.

A Healthy Diet

At the same time, the level of healthy nutritients in vegetables and fruit has been shown to be deteriorating. Oranges have been shown to contain only 15 percent of the nutrients they contained about a decade ago. With broccoli, the situation is about the same.

Especially through fast food, the quality of the average person’s diet in Western countries isn’t very good. That’s why it’s so important for people to have a clear understanding of the role of antioxidants in a healthy and balanced diet, and to adjust their daily diets accordingly.

About Author:
Anthony Sims is the editor of, showing you the health benefits of high antioxidant foods. Read more about antioxidant in fruit at his site.

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