Why are Antioxidants Important?

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Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals within the cells. Free radicals are highly-reactive molecules which can lead to damaging chain reaction in cells. For example, sunlight can produce free radical. That is why we need sun block to protect our skin. Free radicals lead to oxidative stress which is the root cause of more than 70 chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, stroke, diabetes and much more.


What Harmful Effects Will You Get Without Antioxidants?

To understand the importance of antioxidants, let’s look at what free radicals can harm you:

DNA
  • Damage to your DNA. DNA is the building blocks of the human race and it is the material that your genes are made of. Damaged DNA can cause certain genes to be turned off, turned on or destroyed and if your body repair system has failed, you may develop cancer at later stage.
  • Speed up the ageing process. This is caused by the damage to telomeres. A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the ends of chromosomes, which protects the end of the chromosome from destruction. As you age, they get shorten until they reach a certain point which lead to the death of cell. Free radicals accelerate this process. This is where ageing comes to the picture. Your body function starts to decline and slowly they lose the ability to function properly. This is a natural process, however, there is a way to slow down this process.
  • Damage to cells. It depends on which part of your cells have been damaged, this damage can cause arthritis, wrinkles, cataracts and blindness. For examples, if the damage is your pancreas cells, you could possible develop diabetes; joint cells, you could be getting arthritis; artery cells, you could potentially get stroke or heart disease; kidney cells, you could get kidney failure.
  • Oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol). Oxidised LDL can lead to blood vessels blockages, blocked arteries and eventually heart attacks and strokes. These molecules are also found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

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The 5 Risk Factors of Free Radicals – Are You at Risk?

Fortunately, your cells have very efficient mechanisms to neutralise free radicals. Why are antioxidants important? Antioxidants have ways of countering these free radicals. Problems occur when the free radical production is greater than the body’s ability to neutralise the free radicals. Under what circumstances would your body produce more free radicals? Here are the 5 risk factors that increase the production of free radicals:

Ageing free redical
  • Ageing. The older you get, the more free radical your body produces. Your body’s natural defence system decreases as you age.
  • Pollution. Environmental pollutants such as chemicals and cigarette smoke increase free radical production.
  • Increased of food consumption. Fast food and fried food are usually high in calories. Cells produce free radicals when converting food into energy. The more you eat, the more free radicals produced in your body. Try to cut down the high calorie meals with proper food choice.
  • Excessive physical exercise. Intense exercise increases free radical production. However, exercise helps to strengthen your body’s immune system. The solution is to have a regular moderate exercise rather than bursts of intense activity.
  • Inflammation. Inflammation increases free radical production. Inflammation is part of your body’s healing process, in response to an invasion by an infectious agent, toxin or physical, chemical or traumatic damage. The symptoms of inflammation are redness, swelling and pain on the infected areas.

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Why are Antioxidants Important?

Antioxidants prevent free radical damage from external and internal sources and help to protect us from the above mentioned harmful effects. 10,000 oxidative hits to every cell in our body each day is reason enough to consider antioxidants as an important factor in achieving optimum health.

To obtain antioxidants from the foods and get the tips of minimising free radicals, please return to the following link for further details.

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