We usually think of antioxidants as vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy. However, there are other benefits of antioxidants beyond preventing cell damage. In fact, antioxidants are chemicals that prevent oxidation within cells. Oryzanol is one of the most common antioxidants used in skin care products.
How do antioxidants prevent oxidation? Antioxidants like ascorbyl palmitate or vitamin C prevent the conversion of low-density lipoprotein to cholesterol, the bad kind. Other antioxidants, including beta carotene and flavonoids prevent the formation of oxidized LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL may play a role in heart disease, stroke and other heart diseases. Vitamins A, C and E are considered the master antioxidants, meaning they help neutralize free radicals that may play a role in cancer and other diseases.
Clinical trials have shown that some antioxidants can prevent the formation of pre-cancerous cells. Beta carotene has been found to be effective in preventing cancer and other diseases. The effects of antioxidants depend on the type of cell that is affected. So, while a simple vitamin may work on skin cells, breast cancer cells may not respond to beta carotene.
Some antioxidants may help protect LDL cholesterol, the bad type. Others may help prevent the deposit of cholesterol into the arteries. Antioxidants may help prevent conditions like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, the arteries become lined with cholesterol and other chemicals that block the flow of blood to the heart. Arteriosclerosis, on the other hand, occurs when there is decreased blood flow to the arteries.
Researchers have shown that drinking red wine can activate the enzyme that converts alcohol to acetic acid. This means that, contrary to popular belief, antioxidants can actually cause harmful damage to the body if one is drinking too much of it. Drinking just one glass of red wine per day can cause the release of harmful acetaldehyde, which can lead to liver and heart damage.
To keep free radicals at bay, healthy diet and a regimen of antioxidant supplements are the most effective ways to combat oxidative stress. But, avoiding certain foods such as red meat, eggs and dairy products can also be beneficial. Foods that contain a high amount of free radicals are also bad for your health because they are a cause of chronic inflammation. For example, consuming fast food, processed foods and sugary foods can create oxidative stress. For more information, talk to your doctor or research the web.