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What Are Antioxidants and How Do They Help Us?

By Omer Rashid

Most of us have heard about antioxidants, but only a few know exactly what they are and how they benefit us. Antioxidants are molecules that have the ability to prevent or reduce the damage caused to our bodies by substances called free radicals. Our body produces free radicals due to environmental factors, and these substances can cause damage to our cells. In other words, free radicals are the villains, and antioxidants are the anti-villains.

 The Story of Free Radicals

Free radicals are the byproducts that are produced when the body cells process food and react to the environment around them. If the body is unable to remove these waste substances, their concentration increases, and that means trouble for different cells and tissues. The increase in the free radical levels in the body can be linked to a plethora of diseases, including heart conditions, cancer, and diabetes.

However, it should be noted that these free radicals are not all bad. Our immune cells use them to fight off infection in the body. It's only when they outnumber the antioxidants that they turn rogue.

 Source of Antioxidants

The body can manage its own supply of antioxidants. These warrior antioxidants that come from within the body and fight off the free radical entities are termed endogenous antioxidants. By comparison, the antioxidants that come from outside the body are called exogenous antioxidants.

Despite the inbuilt body mechanism for the production of antioxidants, it is critical to have an appropriate antioxidant supply from outside sources. Your life may be at stake if you are not having an adequate intake of certain vital antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E. Flavonoids are another type of antioxidants that also have a lot of proven health benefits.

A plant-based diet ensures that you get a proper daily dose of antioxidants. Dates, berries, and green tea are considered the best exogenous sources of antioxidants. As far as the Western diet is concerned, coffee acts as the most consumable antioxidant source because the average diet doesn't involve many antioxidant-rich food choices.

You can also go for an antioxidant supplement but should always be aware that an antioxidant overdose can also be a harbinger of harmful effects. So, incorporating antioxidant-rich food in your daily routine is a much better idea than going for supplements.

To sum it up, a steady regular intake of antioxidants is extremely significant for maintaining a healthy body. A higher level of free radicals can manifest in the shape of many life threatening diseases. It is of utmost importance to keep the free radicals in check -- and antioxidants are the answer.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Cumming, Ga.
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