Antioxidants are among the nutrients which are most needed by our bodies to be able to function properly, as they help the body to regenerate itself and be protected against disease. They do this by affecting the toxins in our body in a way that prevents and stops the damage they produce, thus boosting our immune system.
Antioxidants are minerals, vitamins and other nutrients and there are many types of antioxidants, the most common being flavonoids. They are the little soldiers in our bodies that fight against harmful substances to keep our natural defenses up.
The enemies of antioxidants are free radicals. Free radicals are cells which are damaged by the process of oxidation. Oxidation is in itself a natural process which is essential to our body. Oxidation mainly controls the death and birth of cells thanks to which the body can regenerate itself; it is therefore very useful to us. However, during the process of oxidation some cells are damaged. This is a normal process, and our body naturally creates antioxidants to counter the damaged cells.
Damaged cells are called free radicals, and their main danger lies in the fact that they injure other cells in a chain reaction, damaging our DNA. This leads to disease, as our DNA is altered and cell damage makes our body weak and unable to fight disease.
Although our bodies produce quantities of antioxidants to fight against free radicals, these may not be enough as there are various things which increase the levels of toxins or free radicals in our bodies. For example, smoking, drinking alcohol and eating too much processed food all trigger the production of additional toxins which the body needs to fight against to stay healthy. For this reason it is important to consume more antioxidants so that they can fight effectively against all the toxins, and we need to consume antioxidants every day.
Antioxidants fight the toxins in our body by preventing and stopping the chain reaction caused by free radicals. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamins C help to prevent this chain reaction from starting while others, like vitamin E help to bring it to a halt. For this reason, antioxidants help prevent various diseases, from a common cold to cancer and even heart disease, as well as age-related diseases, among many others.
There is a huge variety of antioxidants, from vitamins to minerals like zinc and copper. They all have different functions in eliminating the toxins in our body and it is therefore important to eat a variety of antioxidant foods to ensure one is getting enough of all types. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a start, as foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all very rich in different types of this important nutrient.
The advantages of having a diet rich in antioxidant are plenty, the main one being that they boost the immune system to help us fight against disease by preventing and stopping toxins from creating a harmful chain reaction in our bodies. For this reason, antioxidants are essential for a healthy life as they help us to get rid of free radicals produced naturally in our bodies and also of other toxins which enter our bodies every day.