Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals by giving them the necessary electron they crave. Antioxidants can be vitamins, minerals, hormones, or enzymes. Although a certain amount is manufactured in the body as enzymes or hormones, most of our antioxidants come from fruits and vegetables.
Although many antioxidants can be obtained from food sources, it is difficult to get enough of them to hold back the free radicals constantly being generated in our polluted environment.
Certain antioxidants protect particular parts of the body against certain kinds of free radicals. For example, vitamin E protects the fats in cell membranes. Also to fighting free radicals, antioxidants stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation and fever, and help control pain. Once and an antioxidant has neutralized a free radical, it is essentially “spent”.
Maintaining a healthy immune system, reducing stress, and consuming antioxidants can minimize free radical damage. Conditions that can be avoided or improved using antioxidant therapy include cancer, coronary heart disease, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, diabetes, menopause, fertility, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s diseases and Parkinson’s disease.