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Antioxidants: Fighting Free Radicals for Your Overall Health

Jun 5, 2008
Some of the most powerful preventative medicines in nature are found in the produce section of your local grocery store. Antioxidants and xanthones abound in fruits like mangosteen, blueberries, pineapples, goji berries, sea buckthorn, sour cherries, cranberries, lychee, and star fruits.

You've likely heard lots about their health benefits, but what are antioxidants and xanathones, exactly? According to the National Cancer Institute, "Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer," (Blot, 1993).

Essentially, antioxidants interact with and neutralize some free radicals before they cause damage at the cellular level. This is also thought to provide anti-aging benefits by promoting healthy skin cells. A study conducted by Halliwell (1996) states that people have a diet with plenty of antioxidants and avoid smoking, which is a major source of free radicals, for optimal health.

Pineapple, sour cherries, cranberries, and blueberries are all very high in antioxidants. It is recommended that you eat all of these fruits regularly, as the type of antioxidant found in each fruit differs from the others. Supplements are also available for many of these types of fruits.

Researchers in Singapore recently discovered that star fruit was unusually high in antioxidants. The funny looking fruit was found to have "over 70 percent of the total polyphenol content of the whole fruit," (Shui, 2006).

According to Decision News Media in 2006, "The US antioxidant market was estimated to be $370 million in 2005." It is a booming business that offers many people the potential to consume chemicals that may work to prevent cancer later in life.

Xanathones are highly specific phytochemicals found in just a few specific tropical fruits. The mangosteen, more specifically the rind of the mangosteen fruit, contains over 30 different kinds of xanathones. Some merchants refer to them as "super-antioxidants."

They are thought to be very potent antioxidants, perhaps the most potent available in nature according to certain researchers. They are heat stable molecules that will not lose their structure when heated, which is beneficial in the metabolic process.

Xanathone manufacturers claim that the chemical compound can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and other circulatory problems, as well as promote an overall sense of health. As of yet, no clinical trials have been completed to back up these claims because the FDA considers xanathones a nutritional supplement and not a medicine.

Whether or not antioxidants and xanathones will keep you from getting a specific disease, modern science simply cannot say. But research does indicate that antioxidants do neutralize certain types of free radicals. Such free radicals are thought to be carcinogens. So, if consuming antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables increases your odds for disease prevention, why wouldn't you add them to your diet?

Many doctors and nutritionists advocate the use of antioxidants to promote your overall health, so slice up a star fruit and grab a glass of cranberry juice if you want to raise the odds in favor of your long-term health.
About the Author
T. Fox researches healthy smoothies ,a mix of blenders and health ingredients, and negative ions , all resulting in collaboration. People perform better when they are healthy.
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