Many people claim that antioxidants are the answers to all of our health problems. Mort of them are setting something. Studies show, however, that antioxidants are not miracle cures for cardiovascular disease, weight loss or cancer. Some of the claimed health benefits are valid, others are far from it.
We may know the purpose of antioxidants and what they do, but do we fully understand what they are? Manufacturers would like to keep it this way; the less you know, the more likely you are to purchase products with general “health benefits.” Here are some myths surrounding antioxidants that we can debunk:
The Body Must Destroy Free Radicals
Free radicals are simply molecules within your body that cause mutation of DNA and play a role in conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease. However, free radicals are essential to life because they are the result of oxidation, a metabolic process that takes place within your body. For example, if you are sick, free radicals are shot onto the unhealthy bacteria by immune cells and will kill the bacteria to make you well again.
However, having a significantly high number of free radicals is unhealthy because your antioxidant defenses cannot keep up and leave you more prone to diseases, aging, and cell damage. Sun overexposure, pollutants and cigarette smoke can overload your body with free radicals and lead to serious health conditions.
All Antioxidants Are the Same
An antioxidant is technically any molecule or cell within your body that protects you from oxidation. While there are roughly 8,000 varieties of nutrients, vitamins, flavonoids and polyphenols in your body, they do not act the same way. You cannot take less of one vitamin and increase your dosage of another thinking that they all work similarly.
Some antioxidants can only fight against free radicals when certain conditions are met, while other types of antioxidants can only battle specific kinds of free radicals. Yet another difference, some antioxidants are only effective in certain areas of the cell itself.
Only Fruits and Vegetables Provide Antioxidants
While some people may assume that antioxidants only come from fruits and vegetables, the truth of the matter is that antioxidants can be found in grains, beans, seeds and nuts with the exception of refined grains. The refining process eliminates any antioxidants that are originally in the grain. Meats, eggs and dairy products can also contain antioxidants, depending on the animal and the plants and food it ate.
Antioxidants Can Cure Cancer
There is no direct evidence supporting the notion that antioxidants can cure cancer; an extremely limited number of trials have advanced long enough to study the effects of antioxidants on the disease. In one study, for example, the rate of men who had cancer were not statistically different between those receiving a placebo and others taking beta-carotene.
Antioxidants Can Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers concluded that methods other than taking antioxidants including vitamin E and beta-carotene are more effective at preventing heart disease and stroke. One study followed almost 40,000 healthy women, half of whom took vitamin E and the other half who took a placebo for a decade. The rate of cancer and heart disease were similar between the two groups, although there was a 24 percent decrease in how many women died from heart-related complications. However, beta-carotene showed no benefit in terms of protecting against stroke and cardiovascular disease.
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- Which Foods are Antioxidant-rich? (dietcleanse.org)
5 Antioxidant Myths by Steve