Getting To The Heart Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants benefit the body by getting rid of free radicals. Playing a role in heart disease and many other conditions, free radicals wreak havoc by manipulating DNA. Getting rid of these free radicals can help to lower cholesterol and protect a person from getting heart disease.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are natural compounds that protect the cells from oxidation and free radicals. Free radicals are produced through processes such as breathing and metabolization of food. Free radicals can wreak havoc on living cells and have been linked to many diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants are either endogenous, or produced internally, or exogenous, coming from outside the body. Glutathione is the most well-known antioxidant the body produces. Just about all the antioxidants, an individual needs come from plants and animals. Vitamin C and E, both which have antioxidant properties, are essential for human life.
What are the best sources of antioxidants?
The best sources of antioxidants are found in plants and fruits. Antioxidants can also be found in meat and fish, just in smaller quantities. Other sources include dark chocolate, green tea and coffee.
Individually, antioxidants provide many health benefits but work best in combination with vitamins and minerals. Supplements make getting the daily dose of essential antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals more accessible. Antioxidants protect the body from harmful free radicals. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for cellular growth and function. Minerals also help balance water and acid-base levels within the body. Fish oils help by lowering cholesterol and promoting a healthy heart.
How do antioxidants affect the heart?
The exact link between antioxidants and heart health is unknown. The general consensus is that a healthy diet is beneficial for total body health. Improving overall health undoubtedly benefits the heart. The healthier the body is, the less strain is placed on the heart. When there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals, the body is subject to oxidative stress. The true damage of oxidative stress lies with the modification of DNA, causing cellular mutations. Mutated cells cannot function properly and lead to damaging consequences. Many conditions, including heart and blood vessel disorders, are caused by free radical damage. Antioxidants are also thought to help break down cholesterol that can build up on arterial walls.
How do antioxidants help?
Antioxidants as a whole may not directly benefit heart disease. The true benefit lies in antioxidant’s ability to rid the body of excess free radicals. For more information about supplements that can lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, speak with a healthcare provider.