May 102011

As we sit and do something, our body is doing large number of processes. Some of them are visible like breathing, blinking and moving etc. while there are a large number of processes which we do not see or notice. Action of antioxidants on free radicals is one of them. Oxygen is essential for the existence of any living being. In certain circumstances the same oxygen could create havoc in our body, leading to damage of our cells and consequent chronic diseases. Oxidants or free radicals get stuck to the cells and start causing damage to them. At this stage antioxidants start their work to neutralise the free radicals.

The external sources through which free radicals or oxidants enter the body are sun, alcohol, cigarette smoking, pollution and junk food. Antioxidants are produced by our body and are also present in abundance in the food which we eat. Food rich in antioxidants includes fresh fruits and vegetables of deep dark and rich color. It must be noted that cooking destroy antioxidants, as such uncooked fruits, juices and vegetables should be preferred.

By the process known as metabolism our body continues to make new cells, produce energy necessary for healthy movement of a person and in addition to this repair the damaged cells. In a very short period new cells replace the existing cells. This metabolism process also results in production of unstable molecules or free radicals as commonly called. These are unstable oxygen atoms capable of causing damage to other cells. They take missing electrons from healthy body cells and make them unstable and a chain reaction starts.

This chain reaction results in skin problems, heart disease, damage to kidneys, cancer and arthritis problems to name a few. To keep healthy and feel young, you need to introduce antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants are molecules which neutralise the effect of oxidants. Some of them are present in the body but supplementing at regular intervals is a must to keep oneself healthy.

A large number of vitamins and nutrients act as antioxidants. Regular intake in the natural form or as supplements will be of great help to the body. Vitamins and minerals that should be taken regularly includes Vitamin E, C and A, Lycopene, Alpha and Beta carotene, manganese and iodide etc. These are available in abundance in nuts, cold water fish, seafood, red meat, and vegetable oils.

As cooking destroys antioxidants present in food, fresh vegetables of deep green, red or orange color should be made a part of each meal and consumed as salads. You can also think of the antioxidants juice made from beetroot, spinach, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, lemon and orange – all in one juice, a perfect antioxidant cocktail. These will keep you young, healthy and fit for a long time.