In this article we look at how antioxidants benefit both your health and promote anti-ageing. Antioxidants are found in many foods but are particularly high in concentrations in Superfoods, such as Acai, which has the highest antioxidant content of any food on the planet. Let's take a look at how they work.
In a cells a balance exists between oxidants, antioxidants and biomolecules which keeps our bodies healthy.
Excess development of free-radicals, through ageing, environmental factors or lifestyle factors causes damage to our cells through oxidation which can lead to disease and ageing, the basic point being that our cells no longer function as they once did. As we age this happens naturally.
Ageing is a consequence of the imbalance between free radical production and antioxidant defences (Sastre et al 2000).
Because we are able to identify that free radicals cause the ageing and cell degeneration process suggests that we can develop interventions that reduce the rate at which cells degenerate and therefore the effects of ageing and the potential development of chronic disease.
Higher serum levels of antioxidants are associated with higher strength and physical performance measures (Cesari et al 2004; Semba et al 2003), suggesting that oxidative damage may play an important role for the onset of the disabling process.
How do Antioxidants Work?
1) neutralise free radicals;
2) reduce peroxide concentrations and repair oxidized membranes;
3) decrease reactive oxygen species production;
4) through lipid metabolism, short-chain free fatty acids and cholesteryl esters neutralise reactive oxygen species
The Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the main water-soluble antioxidant and acts as a first defence against free radicals in whole blood and plasmas. It also helps to regenerate vitamin E in lipoproteins and membranes (Maxwell 1995).
The Benefits of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is crucial in preventing atherosclerosis, which is defined as a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of fatty material on their inner walls (Steinberg 1997; Witztum 1994).
Through a study referred to as “The French Paradox” (Renaud and de Lorgeril 1992), it was suggested that the reason cardiovascular disease in France was considerably lower than other Western countries, despite their diet being high in saturated fats, was due to the antioxidant effects of red wine, which is consumed readily in France.
A number of studies have reported that increased intake of dietary antioxidants including vitamin E and C are associated with reduced risk of atherosclerotic diseases (Kaliora et al 2006). Thus, antioxidants seem to prevent the development and progression of arteriosclerosis (Nakamura et al 2006).
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