Role of Antioxidants in Maintaining Optimal Health

Antioxidants protect the cells against the action of free radicals. Now these free radicals are harmful substances which damage cells and play a part in the occurrence of heart disease, cancer and various other diseases. The antioxidant substances include beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamins A, C and E. The foods that are rich in antioxidant substances are dried, small red beans, broccoli, garlic, green tea, tomatoes, potatoes and spices.
Beta carotene
It is the main safe dietary source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for normal growth and development, proper functioning of immune system and vision. Beta carotene neutralizes free radicals and enhances certain immune responses. Beta carotene protects skin from sun damage. It can be used as oral sun protection along with sunscreens.
Beta carotene reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It prevents infection by increasing the number of white blood cells. Beta carotene in supplement form is better absorbed by the body than those from foodstuffs. Chopping and cooking process enhance the bio availability of beta carotene.
It helps prevent oxidation of cholesterol thereby slowing of atherosclerosis. It maintains the integrity of cells and thus prevents diseases. Lycopene suppress the growth of tumor and prevent heart diseases by inhibiting free radical damage to good cholesterol. It boosts sperm concentrations in infertile men.
It plays a role in prevention and treatment of age related macular degeneration, breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer.
Helps in synthesis of thyroxin and lowers the risk of joint inflammation. Selenium prevents oxidative stress, maintains proper functioning of thyroid gland and prevents cancer. It induces DNA repair and prevents the increase of cancer cells. Selenium prevents and is used in the treatment of acne, asthma, and different types of cancers, HIV/AIDS, male infertility, multiple sclerosis, ovarian cysts, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis and sudden death syndrome.
Vitamin C
Helps protects cells from free radical damage and lowers cancer risk. Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E supply and improves iron absorption. It protects our skin and gums, protects against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, joint diseases and cataracts.
The conditions which require special need for vitamin C intake includes acne, Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism, asthma, autism, depression, diabetes, irritable bowl disease and Parkinson’s disease. Vitamin C lowers high blood pressure and is good for overall wellbeing.
Vitamin E
Protects skin from ultraviolet light and allows cells to communicate effectively. Vitamin E protects against prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and for this vitamin E should be got from foods and not supplements. It is called as lightening rod of cells. It protects against bladder cancer.
Vitamin E plays a role in prevention and treatment of epilepsy, fibro cystic breast disease, gout, inflammatory bowl disease, menopause, migraine, multiple sclerosis, oral cancer, osteo-arthritis, peptic ulcers and pregnancy induced hypertension.
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photo of spices courtesy of wikipedia 

Take care,