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Over the years man has depended on nature as his main source of nutrients that are essential for his well being and good health. Plants are the main source of our food as well as our medicines and we depend on them almost completely so that the body can develop to its full potential while at the same time also decreasing the incidences of degenerative diseases.
Scientists have recently discovered the substance that is responsible for some of the many health benefits that man has been deriving from plants. Vegetables as well as fruits appear to contain certain chemical substances that react with specific, harmful molecules that are present in our bodies and stop them from causing any damage to our cells. These substances have come to be named natural oxidants because they mainly work on free radicals, which are by-products of oxygen.
The body is protected against free radicals by natural oxidants. Of the many functions that natural antioxidants perform, one of them is to prevent the occurrence of cellular damage that is brought about by free radicals. The oxidation process that our body undergoes when we breathe produces chemical substances that are highly reactive. These chemical substances are called free radicals.
When they are released, free radicals immediately get latched onto other molecules and steal their electrons. This results in the molecules turning as unstable as the free radicals themselves. A rapid chain reaction soon ensues and if left unattended this can lead to numerous other degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, memory loss, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
The primary sources of natural antioxidants are plants. The human body is incapable of producing the natural oxidants that it needs. That is the reason why we are solely dependant on our diet so that our body gets the necessary amount of antioxidants.
Some of the more well-known natural antioxidant groups include carotenoids, indoles, coumarins and catechins. All of these are complex compounds and are present in almost all plants. Carotenoids form the biggest group of antioxidants that occur naturally, closely followed by coumarins and indoles. Catechins are antioxidants that occur naturally in the plant Camellia sinensis, which gives us our black tea, oolong tea as well as green tea.
The most commonly found and well-known natural antioxidant within the carotenoid group is Beta- carotene. Another name for the antioxidant Beta –carotene is Vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin that plays an important role in preventing damage to the eye. This natural antioxidant provides support to the immune system, increases lung capacity, supports healthy levels of cholesterol and potentially reduces the risk of skin damage from sun exposure. Some studies have been done that prove beta-carotene is also good for a healthy heart.
The natural antioxidants that are present in catechins help promote health by giving the immune system a boost thereby lowering the chances of infection. Catechins are also great inducers of weight loss.
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Name: Natural Antioxidants