Just what are antioxidants? This is the question many people are asking today as they hear about free radicals and their effects on health and aging.
To understand what antioxidants are one must first understand free radicals. Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive molecules that can attack enter and damage cell structures in the body.
Free radicals are the result of pollution and chemicals that enter the body. These molecules constantly steal from healthy molecules creating more damaged molecules.
This chain reaction of events leads to cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and other diseases. It also is thought to be a leading cause of premature aging.
Antioxidants are found in many foods and in dietary supplements available through nutritional shops. These molecules reduce the rate of oxidation reactions and counteract the damaging effects of oxygen in cells.
Antioxidants protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals by supplying the missing electrons to the free radicals without it becoming a free radical. This stops the molecule from doing any damage to the body and prevents the onset of disease.
Antioxidants are found in many natural, whole foods and are being discovered in more foods every day. The acai berry is the latest food to be discovered with high amounts of antioxidants.
In the supermarket, the foods that are the highest in antioxidants are undutched cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, white, green, oolong, black and red teas. Blueberries, which have always been touted for their health benefits are also high in antioxidants but are no longer the only superfood.
Other fruits and berries that are high in antioxidants and can be found year round are blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, sour cherries, dried plums and many more fruits. Nature has made antioxidants abundant in most all fruits and vegetables.
Among all of the fruits that are high in antioxidants, the acai berry is known as a super fruit. It is considered to be a superfruit because it is extremely high in antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, Omega 6 and 9, essential fatty acids, and amino acids.
The antioxidant properties of this superfruit have become a main ingredient in many nutritional supplements that are all the rage on the market today.
Super foods are natural food sources that are packed with highly concentrated amounts of antioxidants. Although there is not a government or FDA definition for superfoods, the term has become common when reading or searching for antioxidant foods.
Answering the question of what are antioxidants is simple; it is a means of protecting the body. Natural, whole foods are the answer to antioxidants and protecting the body from free radicals.
Antioxidants buffer the body and keep the free radical molecules from doing damage that can lead to health problems and possible even shorten life.