Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Steps to Maximize the Benefits of Antioxidants

Simple Steps to Maximize the Benefits of Antioxidants

Enjoy  5 servings of fruits and vegetables with variety of colors daily
Have some grains, nuts, seeds, herbs.

Cut down on fried foods and saturated fat. Do not eat burnt foods.

Quit smoking and stay away from second hand smoke.

Avoid strong sunlight between 10am – 4pm. If you need to go outdoor, remember to bring umbrella and use sun block.

Manage stress, since stress is one of the factors causes free radicals formation.

How Much Do I Need?

The American Heart Association, for one, does not recommend using antioxidant supplements "until more complete data are in," but instead, suggests "people eat a variety of foods daily from all of the basic food groups." Moreover, in April 2000, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, an advisory group that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids like beta-carotene should come from food, not supplements. After examining available data on the beneficial and harmful health effects of antioxidants, the panel concluded that there isn't enough evidence to support using large doses of these nutrients to combat chronic diseases.
In fact, the group warned that extremely high doses of antioxidants may lead to health problems, including diarrhea, bleeding, and the risk of toxic reactions.

The Bottom Line

Antioxidants are found abundant in beans, grain products, fruits and vegetables. Look for fruits and vegetables. So enjoy eating a variety of foods. It is best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of supplements.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Antioxidant rich foods

Antioxidant rich foods
As seen earlier the role of antioxidants is to neutralize, or “stop,” free radicals from doing damage to your body.
 Lets have  a look at the different types of antioxidant available and the benefits they offer:-

Types of Antioxidants

Antioxidant Nutrients
Antioxidants from our diet appear to be of great importance in controlling damage by free radicals. Each nutrient is unique in terms of its structure and antioxidant function.
Vitamin A and Carotenoids
Beta-carotene is also especially excellent at scavenging free radicals in low oxygen concentration.
Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots (bright-colored fruits and vegetables)

Vitamin C
It scavenges free radicals that are in an aqueous (watery) environment, such as inside your cells. Vitamin C works synergistically with vitamin E to quench free radicals. Vitamin C also regenerates the reduced (stable) form of vitamin E.
 Citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin  and antioxidant. That means it is absorbed by the fat, or lipids, in your cells. It’s quite the “fat-loving” antioxidant. Vitamin E helps to protect the cell’s outer protective barrier from free radicals.
Nuts & seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil.

It is a mineral that we need to consume in only very small quantities, but without which we could not survive. It forms the active site of several antioxidant enzymes including glutathione peroxidase.

Similar to selenium, the minerals manganese and zinc are trace elements that form an essential part of various antioxidant enzymes. 
 Fish & shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic.

Some common phytochemicals
Phytochemicals are nonessential nutrients, meaning that they are not required by the human body for sustaining life, but are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties.

Some of the well-known phytochemicals are:
Flavonoids / polyphenols :-Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds that are ubiquitous in nature and are categorized according to chemical structures into flavones, flavonols, isoflavones.
soy, red wine, purple grapes, pomegranate, cranberries, tea

Lycopene - Lycopene  is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables.
Tomato and tomato products,pinkgrapefruit,watermelon

Lutein- Lutein is a yellow-to-orange pigment or phytochemical found mostly in plants.
dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, kiwi, brussels sprout and spinach.

Lignan are a group of chemical compounds found in plants. Lignans are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like chemicals.
Flax seed, oatmeal, barley, rye

Vitamin-like Antioxidants

Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, which is essential to energy production and can also protect the body from destructive free radicals.
Rich sources -meat, poultry, and fish, soybean and canola oils, and nuts.
Moderate sources - Fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products.

Glutathione Without glutathione, other important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E cannot do their job adequately to protect your body against disease.

Although, glutathione(GSH) is not found in foods, the following foods do help your body to make more Glutathione(GSH) and therefore, boost your body's GSH levels.
Avocado, asparagus, broccoli, garlic, raw eggs, spinach
, also curcumin (turmeric) and even fresh unprocessed meats.

Antioxidant enzymes made by the body
The antioxidant enzymes  serve as your primary line of defense in destroying free radicals. Together, they repair oxidized DNA, degrade oxidized protein, and destroy oxidized lipids (fat-like substances that are a constituent of cell membranes)
  • superoxide dismutase (SOD)
  • catalase
  • glutathione peroxidase
Eat a variety of food to get the best possible antioxidant effect
Watch out next for Steps to Maximize the Benefits of Antioxidants and how much do u need!!!!!!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012



Antioxidants act as "  free radical scavengers"   that prevent and repair damage done by free radicals. Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions).

To appreciate the value of antioxidants, you must first understand the oxidation process

For example, if you cut an apple, it turns brown, this is an oxidation process. The surface of apple reacts with the oxygen in the air which causes the surface to turn brown gradually. Oxygen can work to break down other substances, creating what are called free radicals(for details ref earlier post) which are extremely damaging. Similarly When you perform any activities, your body is burning and producing toxins by reacting with oxygen (which is oxidation: just like the apple cut in half and turns brown).

How Do Antioxidants Work?
The mission of antioxidants is to find out these free radicals inside your body and make it impossible to attach to your body so that your cells are being protected from the damage of these free radicals. If you are lack of antioxidants and unable to neutralise these free radicals they can escape into surrounding tissues and further damage your cells. To prevent this damage, balance is the key.

The number of free radicals that you produce everyday is not the same. The pollution in the air, the foods you eat and the activity you perform determine the number of free radicals. Definitely, you must have enough antioxidants to neutralise these free radicals. Although your body can produce antioxidants, however, when the number of free radicals is too high, you will need to obtain extra antioxidants from your normal diet or supplements. 

Watch out next for……What are the foods that contain good source of antioxidants? What kind of benefits can antioxidants offer to you?