Antioxidants are dietary substances including some nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamins C and E and selenium, that can prevent damage to your body cells or repair damage that has been done.
Antioxidants work by significantly slowing or preventing the oxidative — or damage from oxygen — process caused by substances called free radicals that can lead to cell dysfunction and the onset of problems like heart disease and diabetes. Antioxidants may also improve immune function and perhaps lower your risk for infection and cancer.
In your body, the antioxidant process is similar to stopping an apple from browning. Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C, it stays white.
The process of oxidation in the human body damages cell membranes and other structures including cellular proteins, lipids and DNA.
When oxygen is metabolized, it creates ‘free radicals’ which steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage. The body can cope with some free radicals and needs them to function effectively. However, an overload of free radicals has been linked to certain diseases, including heart disease, liver disease and some cancers.
Oxidation can be accelerated by stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution and other factors, including the foods you eat and the air you breathe.
Antioxidants are found in certain foods that neutralize free radicals.
These include the nutrient antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals copper, zinc and selenium. (And, Kangen Water™!)
Alkaline water acts an antioxidant, scavenging for and neutralizing free radicals. Because alkaline water has the ability to give up electrons, it can effectively neutralize and block free radical damage to the body. Ionized Alkaline Water seeks out free radicals and converts them into oxygen, which your body can use for energy production and tissue oxygenation.
Other dietary food compounds, such as the phytochemicals in plants and chemicals from animal products, are believed to have greater antioxidant effects than either vitamins or minerals. These are called the non-nutrient antioxidants and include phytochemicals, such as lycopenes in tomatoes, and anthocyanins found in cranberries.
The Effect of Free Radicals
Some of the degenerative conditions caused by free radicals include:
· Deterioration of the eye lens, which contributes to blindness.
· Inflammation of the joints (arthritis).
· Damage to nerve cells in the brain, which contributes to conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
· Acceleration of the aging process.
· Increased risk of coronary heart disease, since free radicals encourage low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to adhere to artery walls.
· Certain cancers, triggered by damaged cell DNA.
The Disease-Fighting Antioxidant diet – high in antioxidants – may reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers. Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals from the body cells, and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation. The protective effect of antioxidants continues to be studied around the world.