Anti-oxidants Anti-oxidants are compounds produced in your body and also found in foods. They protect and help defend your cells from harmful substances known as Free Radicals. Oxidative Stress is when these free radicals accumulate. Free radicals are waste compounds produced by the cell as the body processes food and reacts to certain stimuli by the environment. Free radical production is influenced by both internal and external factors. Internal factors are problems like inflammation and chronic stress. External factors are environmental which include things like pollution, UV exposure and cigarette smoke. Oxidative stress is when free radicals build up in the system and cause cell damage; this in turn can lead to; -Excessive release of copper ions and free iron -Disruption of electron transport chains -Activation of Phagocytes (a white blood cell that works in fighting infections)
Oxidative stress has been linked to various respiratory diseases and inflammatory problems, as well as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
There are thought to be hundreds of substances that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants aren’t the name of such substances but rather describe what it can do. These include Vitamin A, C and E, Lutein, Selenium, Manganese and beta-carotene. Each antioxidant plays different roles in the body and it does more than serve as a protector from oxidative stress, which is why it is important to have a varied diet and consume a range of them. There are a lot of things you can eat which are packed full of antioxidants, most of which are fruits and vegetables. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are typically referred to as Superfoods. Superfoods are foods that not only have a high antioxidant level but come with a range of benefits, like iron, vitamins and minerals. Ways to increase your antioxidant intake; -Try to eat fruit or vegetables at every mealtime. -Snacking on nuts and seeds. -Using spices like ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. -Drinking green and white tea.