Antioxidants & Phytochemicals

Free radicals cause cancer.

A free radical is an atom or a molecule with at least one unpaired electron. It's missing a negatively charged particle. Because of this, the free radical is unbalanced. To balance itself, it steals a negatively charged particle from another molecule, causing that molecule to become unbalanced. The unbalanced molecule then steals from other molecules, which steal from other molecules. These molecular thefts can damage your body and lead to life-threatening disease, including cancer.

Free radicals cause heart disease

Free radicals within your arterial walls oxidize LDLs, low density lipoproteins. Oxidized LDLs are a form of cholesterol that tends to adhere to irritations in the arteries, forming plaque, and leading to heart disease.

Carcinogens create more free radicals

Pollution, tobacco smoke, radiation and other carcinogens create more damaging free radicals in your body, and thus are likely to increase your risk of cancer.

Antioxidants eliminate free radicals.

Luckily you have antioxidants. Antioxidants have the ability to donate an electron to the greedy free radicals, while remaining balanced. This stops the damaging chain reactions caused by free radicals.

You need to eat foods containing antioxidants

Your body has a supply of antioxidants, but to remain healthy you need to supply more. Vitamin A from beta-carotene, alpha carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, some minerals and phytochemicals can provide you with more antioxidants.

Sources of antioxidants include...

Yellow and orange vegetables, and dark green leafy vegetables:

  • yellow or orange peppers
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • cantelope
  • pumpkin
  • apricots
  • squash
  • mangos

Certain fruits:

  • apples
  • cranberries
  • grapes and red wine

Other plants including:

  • celery
  • black tea
  • green tea
  • onions
  • oregano

Phytochemicals are often good for you.

Phytochemicals are molecules within plants that protect the plants against disease. Scientists are finding that these molecules can prevent disease in us as well. Some act as antioxidants. Others have additional benefits. They exist in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy.

Sources of phytochemicals

Food Phytochemical Benefit

Cooked tomatoes
(with some fat to aid absorption)

  • lycopene

Prevents prostate cancer.

Likely to prevent other forms of cancer.

Yellow and orange vegetables, and dark green leafy vegetables

Caratenoids:

  • lutein
  • zeaxanthin

Antioxidant

Prevents macular degeneration, which leads to elderly blindness

  • blueberries
  Dramatically enhances cognitive function and motor function in rats. If it's this good for their nervous system, it could probably helps ours.

Citrus fruits:

  • oranges
  • nectarines
  • grapefruit
  • limonene
  • phenols
  • terpenes
Aids in the excretion of carcinogens by increasing the production of enzymes.

Orange and Dark green vegetables:

  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • cantelope
  • pumpkin
  • apricots
  • mangos

Vitamins:

  • folate
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
Caratenoids:
  • betacarotene
  • alpha-carotene
  • beta-cryptoxanthin

Antioxidant

May decrease risk of cancer, heart disease, and age-related vision problems

Leeks:

  • chives
  • onions
  • garlic
  • allyl sulfides

Aids in the excretion of carcinogens by increasing the production of enzymes.

May impede tumor cell reproduction

Cruciferous vegetables:

  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower

Vitamins:

  • folate
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • sulforaphane
  • dithiolthiones
  • indoles
  • isothiocynates
Converts a harmful form of estrogen into a benign form, and thus may prevent cancer.
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • ellagic acid
Helps protect against carcinogens in tobacco and pollution
  • cherries

Legumes:

  • green beans
  • peas
  • phytosterols
  • isoflavones
  • saponins

Delays cancer growth in digestive tract by impeding reproduction

Blocks estrogen activity in cells

  • apples
  • celery
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • black tea
  • green tea
  • red wine
  • onions
  • oregano
  • flavonoids

Antioxidant

Decreases harmful cholesterol

Reduces risk of heart disease and cancer

  • blueberries
  • prunes
  • raspberries
  • grapes
  • caffeic acid
  • ferulic acid
Aids in the excretion of carcinogens by increasing the production of enzymes.

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