Antioxidants – The Basics


In a world where health and fitness is becoming an increasingly important concern, more and more people are showing interest in the capabilities associated with antioxidants. With the power to counteract damaging, harmful, and unwanted processes within the human body, antioxidants are responsible for supplying vital nutrients (vitamins and minerals), which work to improve overall health.  
 
Antioxidants additionally play an important role in maintaining a healthy diet and enhancing the physique. Many individuals are also interested in using such substances to prevent the onset of common chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and stroke. To gain a wealth of health advantages, boost overall health, and prevent the unwanted effects associated with the oxidation of other molecules, you may want to direct your attention to the most commonly known antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene.  
 
Associated Benefits of Antioxidants 
 
While antioxidants are linked to strengthening the defense against the development of certain illnesses and disease, these substances are also connected to combating the visible effects of aging. For instance, many people take antioxidant supplements in hopes of stretching their life expectancy, as antioxidants are believed to lessen the damage caused by a variety of natural aging processes  including the deterioration of bone, worn-out organs, and a weakened immune system.  
 
Additional health benefits associated with antioxidants include combating the damage caused by smoking tobacco, providing a boost in immunity, and preventing the degeneration of the eyes.  
 
Recommended Daily Values 
 
In order to supply the body with a healthy dose of antioxidants, it is important to adhere to the recommended daily allowances (RDA) suggested by the government. Within these recommendations, there are also upper intake levels a person may consider. It is important for users to approach upper levels with caution, as higher amounts of these substances may lead to bodily harm.  
 
The RDA suggests taking 15mg of vitamin E with upper levels reaching 1,070 mg (natural) and 785 mg (synthetic). Increased amounts of vitamin E are known to carry the risk of impairing blood clotting and amplify the chances of one suffering a hemorrhage.  
 
The RDA recommends taking 75 mg (women) and 90 mg (men) of vitamin C with upper levels of 2,000 mg. High amounts of the vitamin are known to cause diarrhea and other intestinal disorders in users. Abusing this particular vitamin may also lead to cancer. While there are no recommendations for beta-carotene, this type of antioxidant is responsible for turning the skin a yellow-orange tint when taking high amounts. Fortunately, this side effect is not considered toxic. The RDA suggests taking 55 micrograms of selenium with an upper level intake of 400 micrograms. High doses of selenium are associated with hair loss, skin rashes, and fatigue. 
 
Those interested in receiving a satisfying amount of antioxidants often take dietary supplements, multi-vitamins, and/or eat a balanced diet filled with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables, avocados, olives, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, while selenium-containing foods include seafood, pork, chicken, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and beef. 
 
Prime candidates for consuming beta-carotene includes squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, apricots, and pumpkin. Citrus fruits are known to provide an ample amount of vitamin C, such as oranges and grapefruit. Additional vitamin C suggestions include potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries.  

Antioxidants in Fruit

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