What are the best known antioxidant benefits?
When it comes to antioxidant benefits, the best known has to be the cleansing effect of free radicals. These electrically charged molecules are left over by various reactions that normally occur in our bodies. Added stress such as smoking, poisons, radiation, toxins, etc, can increase their production. When a free radical comes in contact with an antioxidant such as vitamin E
or C, they bond is such a way as to neutralize the extra electric charge. This is a very important antioxidant benefit because it is thought the detoxification of free radicals can help prevent heart disease, cancer and stroke.
While this important antioxidant benefit has been studied for a long time, the jury is still out whether it is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables or to take supplements. There is a diet called an alkaline diet that promotes the eating of plenty of raw foods, many of which are high in vitamins, live enzymes and antioxidants. People with severe health challenges have seen amazing results by adopting this way of life. A person on an alkaline diet will tend to get much more nutrition from the antioxidant rich vegetables, fruits, sprouts and wheat grass that is consumed. In fact wheat grass juice is one of the most concentrated and freshest forms of antioxidant rich food.
While there is lots of evidence supporting the benefits of increasing your antioxidant intake, there are some who remain skeptical. There have been studies showing little to no effect of supplementation. In particular, a study with ferrets and beta-carotene (the body produces Vitamin A from beta-carotene) showed an increase of lung cancer in ferrets exposed to cigarette smoke and beta-carotene supplementation. On the flip side, there has been evidence pointing to the fact that there are many studies showing reduced cancer rates in people eating a diet rich cleansing antioxidant foods. What this all might be revealing to scientists is that the answer does not lie at the bottom of a pill bottle, but rather in a combination of proper balanced eating, proper detoxification and supplementation. Regardless, there is still much to learn and the debate over antioxidant supplementation is far from over.