Antioxidants are substances which retard or prevent
deterioration, damage, or destruction caused by oxidation.
Fortunately, the body has several antioxidants for damage
limitation. In addition to these, many everyday foods -particularly
fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains- contain a good
quantity of antioxidant nutrients which have the power to augment
the body's natural antioxidant capacity.
Vitamin A, in the form of
beta-carotene (found in orange and dark green fruit and vegetables),
vitamin C (found in fruit and vegetables) vitamin E (found in cereal
and seeds), selenium and zinc (found in nuts, seeds, and seafood)
are all excellent antioxidants.
Foods such as apples, grapes, mango, mushrooms, and honey
also contain antioxidants enzymes known as peroxidase and
catalase. The body creates several other enzymes that combat free
radicals . However, research shows that the production of these
enzymes decreases markedly with age and therefore a balanced diet is
Free radicals are produced wherever a
combustion occurs, so they will arise from tobacco smoke, exhaust
fumes, radiation, and fried or barbecued food.
the 'normal' oxidation processes occurring in cells will produce
their own range of free radicals.
Furthermore, free radicals can also arise from industrial
pollution, too much sun on the skin, infection, excessive exercise,
and even stress. When free radicals are present in excess, this can
lead to cellular damage. For instance, this process leads to a very
familiar sign of aging - wrinkles!!!
The skin cells collapse and harden and this makes the skin sag
and take on a leathery look. Another common effect of oxidative
damage in the body is inflammation, common forms of which are
arthritis, bursitis, and the gout.