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What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals. When it comes to antioxidants, usually involve antioxidants of organic compounds. The group of antioxidants include minerals, carotenoids and vitamins.
Free radicals are molecules that lack 1 or more electrons. Every day the internal organs composed of billions of cells suffer multiple attacks such defective connections. A day can be up to 10 thousand of such attacks. Once in the human body, free radicals begin to "look for" the missing electrons, and finding it, take it away from a healthy and full of molecules. In the end, suffer health, as its cells become unable to operate normally and perform its functions. The body is experiencing so-called oxidative stress.
The human body does not produce free radicals, they get into it from outside:
The higher the dose penetrated into the body of free radicals, the worse the consequences of their destructive effects on the body.
Among the possible disorders that can be triggered by free radicals:
- Varicose disease.
- Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
- Inflammation of the joints.
- Bronchial asthma.
- Inflammation of the venous wall.
These diseases – it's not all negative effects on the body free radicals. They have the ability to intervene in the normal structure of the DNA and induce changes in genetic information. In addition, it affects all body systems: immune, skeletal,nervous. Accelerating the process of aging and death of cells.
Modern medicine is not able to prevent the penetration of free radicals in the body with any medicines. But to reduce their destructive impact can antioxidants. Thanks to them people hurt less and less and easier.
Antioxidants have the effect opposite to the action of free radicals. They "found" in the body of damaged cells and give them their electrons, protecting cells from damage. Moreover, the antioxidants themselves do not lose stability after giving its own electron.
Thanks to this support, the cells of the human body is refreshed, cleansed, rejuvenated. Antioxidants can be compared with the strategic forces that are always on duty and ready to fight for human health.
Antioxidants slow down the agingDoctors are increasingly convinced that antioxidants slow down the aging of the human body. American scientists are convinced that the higher the content in the body of antioxidants, the higher the duration of his life. Observation of the mice in the body which antioxidanti production of enzymes held at a heightened pace revealed that their life expectancy has increased by 20%. In addition, rodents are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases from age-related diseases.
If to transfer these figures on the person, the life expectancy of such people should be 100 years or more. After all, the American scientists from the University of Washington confirm the hypothesis concerning the fact that free radicals provoke increased aging. That they are associated with cardiovascular, cancer and other diseases that affect the human lifespan.
A joint experiment of Peter Rabinowitz and his colleagues on mice has allowed to establish that the effect of free radicals on the aging process large. So, they're laboratory bred mice in the body which artificially caused increase in the production of the enzyme catalase. This enzyme works as an antioxidant and promotes the removal of hydrogen peroxide. She, in turn, is a source of free radicals occurs during the metabolism.
Free radicals disrupt the normal chemical processes within cells and provoke the emergence of new free radicals. In the end, the pathological process is repeated again and again. Antioxidants allow this vicious circleto break.
Antioxidant vitaminsVitamins-antioxidants, which are able to absorb the maximum amount of free radicals is vitamins E, C, A. They are found in various products that feed people, however, due to the poor environmental situation in the world, to fill the shortage of vitamins from natural sources is becoming increasingly difficult. To help in such a situation can vitamin complexes and supplements that have a positive effect on the human body.
Antioxidant vitamins play in the body the following:
- Tocopherol or vitamin E contributes to the inhibition of peroxidation, does not give free radical damage to healthy cells. It integrates into cell membranes and reflects their attacks from the inside. Vitamin E has a beneficial effect on the skin, prevents aging, improves the immune forces of the body, is a preventive remedy for cataract. Thanks tocopherol oxygen is better assimilated by the cells.
- Retinol or vitamin a helps to reduce harmful effects on the body electromagnetic and radioactive radiation, enhances its natural resistance to stress. Retinol has a beneficial effect on the condition of the skin, mucous membranes of internal organs, protecting them from destruction. With regular intake of beta-carotene, from which vitamin a is synthesized, the human immune system effectively fights viruses and bacteria. Another invaluable benefit of vitamin A for the human body is reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood, which in turn, is the prevention of strokes and heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. It is established that when there is insufficient content in the body of vitamin A, primarily affects skin and sight.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin fights free radicals, preventing them from destroying cells of the human brain, stimulating its work. Regular intake of vitamin C increases the production of interferon, which provides immune protection.
Starting to take vitamins, you should consider that to achieve the maximum antioxidant activity will succeed only with the right combination of vitamins and minerals.
Learn more: Properties and sources of vitamins
Antioxidants minerals are macro and micro compounds that can not only increase the positive effect of anti-oxidant vitamins but also help reduce the number of allergic reactions, stimulate the immune system, act as anti-cancer components. Thanks to their appointment to vasodilator and antibacterial effect.
The antioxidant minerals include:
Selenium. This mineral is part of the enzyme called glutathione-peroxidase. It has a beneficial effect on the liver, heart and lungs. Selenium allows the immune system to actively fight against infectious diseases, strengthens the protective properties of the outer membranes of cells. The mineral interferes with the redox reactions of metals. If selenium in the body is not sufficient, the use of other antioxidants is reduced to zero. Moreover, they start to support the devastating processes which are carried out due to the action of free radicals. (see also: Selenium - anti-cancer mineral!)
- Copper. This mineral is part of the enzyme superoxide dismutase which actively fights harmful oxidants. Copper is directly involved in cellular metabolism. If the body is deficient of this mineral, the first to suffer the immune system, which leads to more frequent infectious diseases.
- Manganese promotes the absorption of vitamins, antioxidants, and allows the cell membranes to resist free radical attack.
- Zinc. This antioxidant helps to restore the damage and breaks in the DNA structure, allows to better absorb vitamin A and helps to maintain its normal levels in the body.
- Chromium participates in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, increases efficiency of the organism, accelerates the transformation of glucose into glycogen.
Although nature gives man a huge number of products a powerful antioxidant, he still loses them to the extent necessary. It would seem that it is enough to have in your diet foods such as grapes, green tea, bilberry, ginseng, certain mushrooms, for example, Veselka, shiitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, and the problem will be solved. However, regular stress, poor environment, poor soil, errors in diet – all full antioxidants to fight free radicals. Atto the scientists from the Institute of food hygiene, more than 50% of people suffering from lack of vitamin a, And vitamin C deficiency is experienced by more than 85% of the population. And one cigarette you smoke destroys the daily requirement of vitamin C.
Therefore, in order for the body to counteract the negative effects of free radicals, it needs an additional source of antioxidants. Allow override this lack of dietary supplements. The antioxidants in them, not inferior in its effectiveness of antioxidants derived from food. They also are successfully fighting against cancer disease, prevent aging, strengthen the immune system.
Antioxidants in foodsAntioxidants in foods are essential for the human body, as they allow him to stay healthy. The most powerful antioxidants of natural origin are anthocyanins and flavonoids, they are contained in the composition of plants and are responsible for their color.
Especially rich in antioxidants foods such as:
- Red, blue, black and orange vegetables;
- Sour and sour-sweet fruits;
- All the greens (especially greens).
Lots of antioxidants in small beans (red, black, mottled), boiled artichoke, some apples, dried fruit, plum. Rich in these nutrients berries: raspberries, currants, strawberries, cranberries. Do not forget about nuts, among which the most useful are: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans.
The diet should also include foods such as:
- Radishes, radishes, turnips, carrots, beets, onions, spinach, eggplant;
- Aronia, blueberries, cherries, grapes (including raisins), blackberries;
- Citrus, pomegranates;
- Crude vegetable oil;
- Organic coffee and tea;
- Spices turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, oregano;
- Parsley, dill and celery (and any other herbs);
The amount of antioxidants in various products varies. In addition, not all the products are researched for these nutrients. One, it is known that the deeper the color of the product, the more antioxidants. To get some antioxidants from food, you should pay attention to their color
- Lycopene is contained in tomatoes and other red vegetables, berries and fruit.
- Lutein can be found incorn and other plants yellow.
- Carotene in orange vegetables and fruits.
- Anthocyanins are present in black berries and dark blue products.
To get from the foods as possible antioxidants, you need to cook them, and best of all eat raw. In some cases, a suitable heat treatment with steam. If you cook, broil or bake vegetables and fruit more than 15 minutes, it affects not only their nutritional value, but also destroy the beneficial compounds. In addition, the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables decreases their storage.
Antioxidant capacity of the products
Name the best food antioxidants
The antioxidant capacity of the products per gram
Berries and fruits
Small red beans
Normal red beans
Scientists working at Boston University, indicate thatmaximum antioxidant activity is shown by the spices.
15 best foods-antioxidants
Name fruits and vegetables
The number of antioxidant units per 100 grams of product
Antioxidants from fresh juiceAntioxidants from fresh juice – these are the same antioxidants from food, but in much greater concentration. Just one Cup of juice to meet daily requirement of the body in different antioxidants. This volume is impossible to get by eating raw vegetables and fruits, because physically people can't eat them in such quantities (I mean raw!). In addition, most of the vitamins and minerals are destroyed during heat processing of food products, and fresh juices no heat treatment not subjected to.
Useful to drink almost any juice fresh pressed: berry, fruit and vegetable. Naturally, the higher the level of antioxidants in fresh vegetable or fruit, the higher their concentration in the fresh juice.
A record number of antioxidants in dark berries. Of vegetables, the leader of the beets (you can only drink with a combination with other juices such as carrot).
! Notoveruse of fruit juices, since they greatly increase the level of blood sugar and the hormone insulin.
The most powerful antioxidants
GlutathioneGlutathione is a Tripeptide, which has powerful antioxidant properties. This antioxidant protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals and toxic substances. Glutathione is able to bind heavy metals and toxins, removing them from the body.
Glutathione is synthesized from L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine, glycine. Glutathione is able to join the liver enzymes with the subsequent withdrawal of toxic substances in the composition of bile. He is involved in the process of DNA synthesis, prostaglandins, proteins. Glutathione is essential for the normal functioning of the immune system, respiratory system, liver and digestive tract in General.
Glutathione produced by the body independently, but in order to help him in this process, it is necessary to include in the menu, poultry, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables (carrots, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, oranges, apples, horseradish, turnips, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, etc.). Useful to restore normal levels of Glutathione in the body spices, especially cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon.
It is established that selenium helps produce cysteine molecules, which in turn promotes the production of Glutathione. A deficit of Glutathione leads to such problems as:
- Increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diseases of the kidneys and liver.
- Suffering immune system, as falling production of the cytokine.
- Deteriorating physical and mental health of the person as a whole.
- Worsens the condition of the skin.
Glutathione can be obtained not only from food. There are special supplements that contain this antioxidant. They can be taken orally, inhaled or injected. However, they are most often prescribed for very serious diseases such as atherosclerosis, HIV infection, Parkinson's disease, etc.
Coenzyme Q10Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that can be synthesized by the body. It helps to restore the antioxidant activity of vitamin E. the Maximum concentration of coenzyme Q10 is found in heart muscle.
Scientists suggest that the aging of human body is directly related to a decrease in this levelof coenzyme Q10. So, people after the age of 60 years the content of this antioxidant in the myocardium is lower by 40-60% in comparison with young people. The maximum value of coenzyme Q10 in the myocardium is detected in 20 years, and then begins its gradual fall.
Reasons in the body decreases the concentration of coenzyme Q10 are varied, among them various diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hyperthyroidism, bronchial asthma, hepatitis, Parkinson's disease, etc.
To increase the level of this antioxidant in the body, you can use the following products to be included in the menu:
- Red palm oil;
- Herring, rainbow trout;
- Sesame, peanuts, pistachios;
- Cauliflower, broccoli;
- Chicken eggs.
In complex therapy of CoQ10 is used for cardiovascular diseases (heart failure, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, etc.). Use this antioxidant in Pediatrics to improve energy metabolism in the cells, especially for treatment of children related to the category of sickly.
Doctors note that supplementation of CoQ10 helps to improve sleep, reducing headaches, eliminating cardialgia in children, which is especially needed for the treatment of vegetative dystonia. In people taking supplements with coenzyme Q10 increases physical endurance, improves the perception of intellectual exertion. Coenzyme Q10 is used in the treatment of pyelonephritis and diseases of other etiology.
PycnogenolPycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant of natural origin. He actively destroys the structure of free radicals, helping the body to fight the physical and mental health. Pycnogenol strengthens blood vessels, has a positive effect on the heart muscle, prevention of joint diseases.
The basic properties of Pycnogenol following:
- Flavonoids, which are contained in Pycnogenol effectively fight the free radicals in the human body.
- Pycnogenol has analgesic effect. It effectively used for headache and joint pain.
- The intake of Pycnogenol allows to thin the blood, which is the prevention of hypertension, strokes and heart attacks.
- The antioxidant has anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating effect.
- The intake of Pycnogenol helps to reduce blood sugar levels.
- This natural antioxidant has a beneficial effect on the skin, restores its elasticity, improves skin hydration and blood circulation of dermis.
Pycnogenol can be taken in the complex therapy in the treatment of cancer, atherosclerosis, arthritis, diabetes. Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant, as it consists of useful flavonoids such as catechins, procyanidins, Taxifolin.
Ginkgo bilobaGinkgo biloba is a powerful antioxidant that contributes to the prevention and treatment of vascular diseases (atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis), helps to improve memory and attention.
Supplementation of Ginkgo biloba helps to fight free radicals, improve microcirculation and blood circulation in tissues, increase renal and cerebral blood flow.
Scientists say that Ginkgo biloba has strong antioxidant effect, which is possible due to the presence of flavonoid glycosides. It helps to reduce the concentration of free radicals in the body has the ability to communicate with ions of manganese, copper, iron and other metals, neutralizing their pathogenic effects. In addition, intake of Ginkgo biloba prevents the breakdown of epinephrine and ascorbic acid. In the composition of the extract some vitamins and minerals-antioxidants, such as: potassium, selenium, copper and phosphorus. This only reinforces the antioxidant effect of Ginkgo biloba.
Possible supplementation of Ginkgo biloba in Raynaud's syndrome, General malaise, with hypochromic anaemia, atherosclerosis, in dementia on the background of Alzheimer's disease, etc. However, before you start using this antioxidant is necessary to consult a specialist, as the preparations based on it have some contraindications.
Find out more: Useful properties and application of Ginkgo biloba
ResveratrolResveratrol is a natural antioxidant that is many times greater than the biochemical activity of many vitamins. Resveratrol is highlighted by some plants in response to exposure to adverse weather conditions or any damage. You can find Resveratrol in grapes, nuts, red berries, and beans. Especiallyrich in Resveratrol red wine (red grapes), but in grape juice the nutrients is much less.
Resveratrol available in dietary supplements to be taken in such diseases, as:
- Cancer of the disease.
- Osteoporosis (preventively).
- Disease and liver toxicity.
- Disorders of vision and memory.
- Diseases of the skin, prevention of premature aging of the skin.
- Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, asthma.
There is a recommendation of regular intake of Resveratrol after the age of 30 years.
LycopeneLycopene is an antioxidant, which is a red pigment contained in plants. Most of the lycopene in tomatoes.
Foods that are rich in lycopene, protects the body from destructive free radicals, so it is often used for the prevention of cancer. Of particular prominence was the such properties of the lycopene, as: protection against prostate cancer and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Other beneficial properties of lycopene:
- Reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood;
- Improved digestion;
- Prevention of atherosclerosis;
- The treatment of obesity;
- Strengthening of the vascular wall.
- The normalization of the liver;
- Rejuvenation of the skin, improve its elasticity, etc.
Besides tomatoes and tomato sauces lycopene can be found in watermelon, red peppers, grapefruit pink color.