Oxidants and antioxidants

Oxidants occur naturally as part of the normal body process; however harmful oxidants or free radicals, which are forms of oxygen, can cause damage to body cells. If free radicals  are not neutralised they can work against the immune system and develop degenerative diseases

High levels of oxidants are contained in substances such as: -

Drugs-

The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest failure which distinguishes man from animals.

Sir William Osler

 

Chemicals contained in food i.e.:-

Antibiotics - Used to supplement animal feeds as animal growth promoters

Pesticides Fungicides Herbicides and chemical fertilisers (e.g. nitrates) - Used on fruit and vegetables, some fruit and vegetables are sprayed up to seven times before harvesting

Emulsifiers, flower treatment agents, mould growth retardants, preservatives and improvers - Used as additives in bread  

Colourants preservatives and artificial sweeteners Used in processed canned food and drinks e.g. Aspartame

Salt This added either as salt, or in the form of sodium, to many processed foods

Chemicals in food packaging – Chemicals which can leach into food are added to plastic to make them soft and flexible and fire retardant.e.g. Bisphenol A. They are also found in plastic seals inside metal twist–on, twist–off lids e.g. Semicarbazide

Chemicals in the air- Industrial pollution or exhaust fumes which can contain Toluene, a toxic chemical.

Chemicals in water Chlorine, fluoride and ethyl oestradiol a synthetic oestrogen used in the formulation of many contraceptive pills. Some chemicals mimic the oestrogen in the body and interfere with systems that regulate the body’s oestrogen and other sex linked hormones. 

Alcohol

Cigarette smoke

Caffeine

Chemicals in solvents glues inks and paint and fingernail polish Such as Toluene

Detergents, cleaners, Polishes, Fresh air sprays and Laundry products– Some contain toxic chemicals such as xenoestrogens.

Paper products Chlorine is used to bleach paper

Frightening isn’t it?

Antioxidants counteract the effects of oxidants and control the build up of free radicals.

The main antioxidants are, beta-carotene converted by the body into vitamin A, (beta-carotene and its related carotenoids form a vital part of the body's protection system, one of their  rolls is to  protecting individual cells)  vitamins, C and E., and minerals such as Zinc and Selenium. These are found in  sources such as red, orange and yellow vegetables, fruit and lentils.   

To reduce the risk of toxins buy organic fruit and vegetables and avoid purchasing products that contain chemicals wherever possible.

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