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Antioxidants are chemicals that interact with free radicals and neutralize them, thus preventing any damage caused inside the body. For this reason, the antioxidants are often referred to as ‘free radical scavengers.’
Some antioxidants are produced by the body itself to neutralize free radicals. Such antioxidants are called endogenous antioxidants. However, our body is also dependent on external sources to obtain the required amounts of antioxidants. Such antioxidants are known as exogenous antioxidants or dietary antioxidants as they are taken primarily through your diet like fruits, grains, and vegetables.
Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that may harm the cells. They are naturally produced inside the body and play a very important role in a number of normal cellular processes. However, they can be dangerous for the body at high concentrations and can damage major components of a cell, including proteins, DNA, and cell membrane. This damage caused by the free radicals may contribute to the development of cancer and other major health conditions.
Antioxidants are must-haves when it comes to fighting diseases like cancer. They are very important to have to obtain optimal health. Here’s everything you should know about antioxidants – how they work, what role they play in preventing cancer, and how one can get their portion of antioxidants.:
Free radicals are produced by our bodies when we are exposed to environmental toxins like cigarette smoke, UV rays of the sun, air pollution, etc. They roam inside the body and cause chronic inflammation. Antioxidants work by tracing these free radicals inside the body and neutralizing their harmful effect on the body. This helps in keeping the cells of the body more healthy, and less susceptible to becoming cancerous.
One can get plenty of antioxidants by eating a healthy and nutritious diet. All brightly-coloured fruits and veggies like tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, and citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants. Nuts, seeds, and grains are also top sources of antioxidants.
Most people think that if food can provide so many antioxidants, its supplements would be even better to take. But that’s not the case. There is no evidence available that proves that antioxidant supplements can prevent cancer or other diseases. Also, supplements contain only a single form of antioxidants, unlike the food items which provide different forms of antioxidants.
We know that it can be a bit difficult to eat more during cancer treatment. But antioxidant supplements don’t seem to have beneficial effects, rather they can sometimes lead to worse outcomes. So, it is better to focus on overall good nutrition by consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables during the cancer treatment.
One should always speak to their doctor, before taking any kind of supplement to meet the required amounts of antioxidants. If you are getting your antioxidants from food sources, it is completely fine but otherwise it is important to take a doctor’s opinion.