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Antioxidants: what are they?
Jan 15, 2004 01:20 AM 17386 Views
(Updated Jan 11, 2009 06:39 PM)

Antioxidants: what are they?We all know that we need oxygen to live. But research has now established an astounding fact. The very thing which promotes life is killing us. Shocked? Don't be. Research has now proved that oxidation in the body cells(the process by which we are continuously burning our calories to get energy) releases dangerous, very active molecules known as free radicals. These damaging fellows attack other cells, the cell walls, and genetic material within the cells and over a long time period, such damage can become irreversible and cause disease(e.g. cancer) Even if it doesn't lead to cancer, the old age symptoms(lack of energy, poor memory, loss of hearing, falling hair) are definitely associated with damaged or weak cells and it is now proved that these free radicals are the main culprit. So does this mean we should stop breathing in order to celebrate our 200th birthday? No. That's not the solution. Nature has created this problem and has provided the solution as well. Do you know what happens in oxidation(burning)? Burning is quite aptly associated with lost. Things loose their colour, taste or odour when they are burnt. Don't they? So, doesn't it make you think how does an apple retain its fresh red colour even when there's so much oxygen and sunlight in the nature? It's the antioxidant. Just as we have anti-virus softwares that protect our computers from nasty viruses, Nature has these antioxidants that protect the poor apple.You think I'm some kind of poet or an arts student? Well, think again. I'm a hard core engineer. I had deliberately mentioned about things loosing their colour, taste and odour in oxidation, so that it doesn't become harder for you to think of sources of antioxidants. As you might have guessed it, all the natural food that is colourful or piquant(natural taste, not because of vinegar) or has sharp odour can be said to be rich in antioxidants. For those who still don't understand:Sources of antioxidants:The Colourful stuff: carrots, apples, oranges, tomatoes(cooked*), beet, broccoli, dark green vegetables, olives, strawberries, honey(the darker the better) and so on.The Tasty stuff: garlic, ginger, onion, oregano.The smelly stuff: Tea, green tea, spinach, tulsi and other herbs etc.Visit: visit) more.And what about the stuff to avoid?Did you read a recent news article about Nans causing cancer? It is the tandoori(roasted) food which is rich in oxidants that is the culprit. Other foodstuff rich in oxidants is: Stuff fried at high temprature(eg. french fries) and Roasted(tandoor) stuff(roasted chicken). Sounds yummy? Well I won't say that you should totally ban these foods; but you can have them along with colourful salad so that you negate the harmful effects. * Even though a tomato is rich in antioxidants, most of them can't be absorbed by humans because they are too complex(complicated. just as explaining this science in a simple language is) Slow cooking brakes them down into simpler compounds that are easily absorbed. The antioxidant value of a tomato is said to increase 5 times when it is cooked.

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