What Are the Beneficial Health Properties of Antioxidants?
There are so many antioxidant products on the market – teas, foods, vitamins, make-up, etc. – that it leaves many confused. What are antioxidants, really? How do they benefit us? In this article we will provide clear explanations for both questions so that you can make smart decisions for you and your family.
What is an Antioxidant?
Antioxidants are nutrients, enzymes and vitamins that counteract the damaging effects that occur due to the oxidation process. Natural processes occur in our bodies all the time; one of these of them is called oxidation. When free radicals from inside (inflammation, aging and metabolism) and outside (sunlight, pollution, smoking and alcohol) the body attack, they make us age faster and cause harm to our health. Free radicals are damaging particles that are made from molecular fragments that are missing electrons. Due to this deficiency, they are unstable, so they roam the body in search of other electrons to pair with. When they find them, they scavenge them, thereby destructing healthy cells, DNA and proteins through the oxidative process.
Oxidation is a visible process that can be seen when an apple starts to turn brown once it is cut and exposed to oxygen in the air. Free radicals can cause many health concerns to humans, such as various types of cancers, inflammation, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s and coronary heart disease.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by becoming oxidized themselves; in order to keep fighting the oxidation process, we need to refill our antioxidant stock in the body. Antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, can play a role in breaking the creation of chains of unstable free radicals by stabilizing them, or can prevent the chain from forming in the first place by stabilizing radicals, such as copper.
What Types of Antioxidants are there?
Some of the most popular antioxidants are:
Beta-carotene – This is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many brightly colored fruit and vegetables that have a yellow-orange-red pigmentation. It converts into Vitamin A, which we need to maintain our immune system, vision and skin. Examples of foods containing beta-carotene are carrots, mangoes, spinach and parsley.
Vitamin E – This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is made up of at least eight-isomer tocopherol (molecules that have a similar formula but diverse atomic arrangements). Its job is to protect cell membranes, and body membranes, and improve conditions of the skin. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
Vitamin C – Also known as ascorbic acid, this water-soluble vitamin works in conjunction with Vitamin E to fight free radicals. The benefits of this vitamin are believed to fight colds, improve immune system function, prevent eye disease, cardiovascular disease and skin wrinkling. Vitamin C is found in oranges, lemons, bean sprouts and broccoli.
Trace Elements – Selenium, Zinc and Manganese are trace elements, minerals that we need small portions of, yet that are responsible for important body processes, such as metabolism, and that work to form parts of antioxidant enzymes. They can be found in water, meat and air.
In addition, there are other antioxidants, not all of which can be found in our diet, such as coenzyme Q10, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase, uric acid, etc.
How Do I Use Antioxidants Effectively?
It is important to understand that not all antioxidants are created equally. Some work to fight free radicals better than others, and all of that depends on what kind of free radical it is, how it was created, and what it is attempting to target. Some antioxidants fight certain types of oxidation effectively, but not others.
Experts agree that antioxidants found in fresh fruit and vegetables are generally more effective than those taken in supplement form. However, due to the changes in our diet, and the lower levels of nutrients in food staples due to agricultural practices, an antioxidant deficiency cannot always be fixed through a regular diet; in this case, taking vitamins and supplements can be very beneficial. Consulting with a medical doctor is advised before changing your diet or supplement regimen.
An important aspect to consider is that the simple intake of antioxidants does not guarantee their efficiency. The body needs to digest these vitamins and nutrients in order to make them bioavailable, or accessible to be broken down in our bloodstream and transmitted to their target areas to improve bodily functions. For example, cooking or pureeing raw carrots helps our body to ingest a larger portion of beta-carotene. Furthermore, adding fat or oil when consuming fat-soluble vitamins helps them to become more bioavailable.
Adding Willard Water® as part of your daily regimen has been proven in various studies to help the body absorb and make antioxidants more bioavailable. The patented micelle catalyst in the Willard Water® formula helps to break down particles and release antioxidants. Furthermore, a study by NIS Labs in Klamath Falls, Oregon, reported that Willard Water® was extremely effective in helping the body absorb and utilize antioxidants from Vitamin E.
Start fighting the aging process and other health concerns today by not only consuming foods and supplements that have antioxidants, but utilizing smart strategies, such as adding Willard Water® to your diet to help them become more bioavailable. In addition, living a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising, and staying out of the sun, can help to prevent free radicals from oxidizing healthy cells.
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