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A good example of oxidants is that of a freshly cut apple, not too soon after you cut it, the apple has turned a distasteful shade of brown, this is oxidation, this is same thing that happens to a rusty nail. This is what the oxidants in your blood vessels and arteries resemble. This is why we need the Antioxidants. They are present in foods as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among others. Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colors—the deep red of cherries and of tomatoes; the orange of carrots; the yellow of corn, mangos, and saffron; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries, and grapes Vitamin A protect cells from free radicals, the best sources are dairy products, liver and fish. Vitamin C also protects cells from free radicals, sources are citrus fruits and bell peppers. Vitamin E helps protects cells from free radicals, helps with immune function and repairs DNA. Selenium is for prevention of cell damage from free radicals, excellent sources are plant foods, meats and some varieties of nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almond. Other antioxidants are found in fruits, such as various types of (not pealed) apples, avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple and oranges to name a few.. Oxidation, or the loss of an electron, can often produce reactive substances that can cause oxidative stress or damage to the cells. Antioxidants, which are capable of stabilizing free radicals before they can react and cause harm. oxidation is a normal process within the body, and we require balance with antioxidants, which must exist to maintain quality health. 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.
As to supplements, recent evidence suggests that antioxidant supplements do not work as well as the naturally occurring antioxidants in foods such as fruits and vegetables. Though supplements containing antioxidants are generally considered safe, two recent studies have suggested that taking higher than recommended doses of supplements such as vitamin E over time may actually be harmful and possibly toxic Recent research suggest that the following Supplements are possibly effective, you should consult with your health provider prior to taking any supplement, as it could create adverse reaction's with your present drugs or your personal health.
POWER BENEFIT Essential for proper immune function; may reduce the risk of certain cancers; helps rid the body of free radicals. THE SCIENCE While some people have already crossed paths with selenium, few know how critical it is to overall health, or how agricultural and processing practices degrade food sources of this essential trace mineral. A powerful antioxidant, selenium works especially well with vitamin E to fight damaging free radicals. It's vital for the immune system, boosting the body's defenses against bacteria and viruses, and it may reduce cancer risk, particularly in the prostate, colon, and lungs. The National Cancer Institute is currently sponsoring a study on whether supplementing with selenium and vitamin E can help prevent or delay prostate cancer.
Selenium is found in meat, wheat germ, nuts (particularly Brazil nuts), eggs, oats, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice. "But modern farming practices have depleted the soil, so many people don't get sufficient selenium from their diets anymore," says Tanya Edwards, M.D., medical director for the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Refining and processing also reduce selenium levels, which is why eating whole, unprocessed, organic food is the best way to obtain the nutrient.
Since this isn't always possible, Edwards recommends supplementing with selenium, which can be found by itself or in multivitamins. Taking selenium is particularly recommended for people with certain digestive conditions, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
How TO TAKE IT 200 micrograms per day, in combination with vitamin E for best results. Since vitamin C can interfere with the absorption of selenium, take them at separate times.
CAVEATS Over time, high doses (over 900 meg per day) may lead to depression, nervousness, vomiting, and nausea.
Chasteberry -hormone balancer-
(Vitex agnus castus)
POWER BENEFIT Relieves symptoms of PMS and pert-menopause and may be helpful for some kinds of infertility.
THE SCIENCE A shrub in the verbena family, chasteberry bears a fruit that has been used medicinally for centuries. As the name suggests, it was once thought to dampen sexual desire; it's also called "monk's pepper," since brothers in orders reportedly chewed the dried berries to decrease libido. Contemporary studies have found that the herb can help regulate hormones, and it has become a standard European treatment for premenstrual syndrome--it's especially effective in helping decrease symptoms of cyclic breast tenderness and fibrocystic breast disease.
"Chasteberry can be particularly helpful during peri-menopause, when the hormones can go completely crazy," explains Edwards. During this time, progesterone levels often start to decline before estrogen levels fall, which can lead to depression, headache, bloating, fatigue, irritability, and breast tenderness. Unlike creams that introduce progesterone from an outside source, "chasteberry helps the body increase its own natural levels of progesterone," notes Edwards. It may also be helpful for infertility caused by high levels of prolactin, since chasteberry can suppress the release of this hormone from the pituitary gland.
HOW TO TAKE IT One 400-milligram capsule daily.
CAVEATS Discontinue if nausea, rash, headache, or agitation occurs. Chasteberry's influence on hormones can interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, and its effect on prolactin makes it inadvisable for women who are pregnant or nursing.