define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 300 ); define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 ); define( 'EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 7 ); define( 'WP_CRON_LOCK_TIMEOUT', 120 ); Understanding Antioxidants
 

Understanding Antioxidants

We have all heard about antioxidants, but do you really know what they are and what they do? The definition of antioxidants is that they are nutrients that the body produces, but that also can be given to the body by consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants. Plant chemicals, minerals and vitamins can all be antioxidants.

There are plenty of ways to get antioxidants in your body. Many come from sources such as the more than 900 plant chemicals that we know of today and research points out that there are a lot of them we still haven’t discovered. You may want to know that you can get over a hundred of these in one serving of vegetables or fruits. These plant chemicals are called Phytochemicals and they are what give fruits and vegetables the bright color that you see in them. Some examples are anthocyanin which give blue berries their blue color, carotene which does the same for carrots and lycopene which does the same for tomatoes.

These plant chemicals are in plants to help them be protected against the environment around them. Some of the conditions that phytochemicals help plants be protected from are fungi, viruses, bacteria, sunlight and in some cases even harsh conditions for growing. That same protection that plants are getting is then transferred to you when you eat them. Though the phytonutrients are considered to be non-essential, they also help give you the best possible health.

What They Do For You

Your metabolism produces oxygen molecules that are highly reactive, and those are called free radicals. Free radicals play a big part in the aging process as well as other degenerative disorders. The reason they are troublesome when they are not under control is that they can become very large in numbers. Antioxidants give your cells the protection they need in order to prevent free radical damage. Antioxidants found in your food also help create the beneficial antioxidant enzymes.

How Do We Know

The benefits of antioxidants are a relatively new discovery. It took the electron microscope and its invention to get the results that scientists were looking for when studying antioxidants. The electron microscope helped because it allowed the scientific community to see the antioxidants at work inside a human cell. That discovery helped create a brand new branch of scientific studies called cell biology. It is the results of those studies that have taken us to all the knowledge that we now have of antioxidants.

The actual discovery of isolated antioxidants happened in 1954 in California at the University of Berkeley. The discovery was made by an organic chemist from the university at the time, Dr. Denham Harmon.

The discovery was made when Dr. Harmon saw the extension of the life span of lab animals, as well as the protection those animals got from them. Heart and brain disease, cancer, cataracts, arthritis and other diseases seemed to be less likely after the antioxidants were consumed. Dr. Harmon then proceeded to prove that the negative effect on the immune system that comes with age has a root cause in oxidative stress. Antioxidants were then shown to reverse that immune deficiency, proving further their benefits to overall health.

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