Showing posts with label antioxidants. Show all posts

Beta Carotene and Vitamins A and E

beta carotene
In a recent press release, a Chicago study of 68 existing studies on Beta carotene and vitamins A and E have been found to increase the risk of death. The review consisted of studies on almost 250,000 people using these antioxidants.

According to critics, many of the study's participants were chronically ill before starting antioxidant treatments. Researchers have not found evidence of risks associated with natural antioxidants found in fruits or vegetables; only in synthetic supplements.

Synthetic supplements have higher concentrated levels of antioxidants and can therefore be more problematic. Antioxidants fight free radicals that can cause cell damage. The study explained that by wiping out the free radicals from our bodies, we are interrupting important defense mechanisms needed to fight disease.

According to the study, using antioxidants Beta carotene and vitamin A and E, can increase the chance of mortality by 5 %. Vitamin C, which is thought to increase longevity, was shown to have no real effect on longevity at all.

While the study may demonstrate that Beta carotene, vitamin A and B may not help you live longer it does not have the valid and reliable support needed to back the claim that antioxidants can actually increase your risk of death.

Check with you physician, especially if you are using anitoxidants as a form of treatment for a serious illness, and consult other surveys that contradict this latest study and recommend antioxidants.

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Antioxidants Keep You Healthy

antioxidants
In the natural process of cell respiration – oxidation – an oxygen electron is lost and becomes a free radical, an unstable molecule that can go on to damage cells and DNA. Antioxidants disable free radicals by donating electrons. Free radicals also form due to air pollution, radiation, pesticides and smoking. Antioxidants are a broad category that includes phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber. People gain these antioxidants by eating fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, spices and herbs – a healthy way of eating.

Antioxidants Maintain Great Health

Scientists believe antioxidants lower the risk of cancer by preventing free radicals from damaging DNA, and ease heart disease by controlling inflammation. Antioxidants support the immune system and are anti-aging. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends consuming a wide variety of plant food, between five and nine half-cup servings per day, to keep in good physical shape. Barry Sears, Ph. D., of The Zone Diet fame, suggests eating five servings of fruit and 10 servings of vegetables per day.

Antioxidants Include Phytochemicals

A big part of antioxidants is plant nutrients – phytochemicals – and they are classified in many unusual-sounding names that have come into general use. Plants use phytochemicals for self-protection, and the plant food protects humans too. Scientists know there are thousands of plant chemicals, and are in the midst of their research. Brightly colored fruit and vegetable peels are especially laden with wholesome phytochemicals.

A popular phytochemical class is the carotenoids, which are further broken down into now-familiar-sounding nutrients like beta-carotene (for example, carrots and broccoli), lycopene (tomatoes and watermelon) and lutein (kiwi and romaine lettuce). Another large family is the flavonoids, which include the anthocyanidins (berries and plums), flavanones (citrus fruit), and quercetins (apples and red onions). Then there are the cruciferous vegetables containing sulforaphane (cabbage and cauliflower) and indole (Brussels sprouts and broccoli).

Actually, most fruits and vegetables are composed of hundreds of nutrients; for example, some of the known ingredients in red grapes are resveratrol, quercetin, and ellagic acid, while popular nutrients in kale include beta-carotene, lutein, quercetin, sulforaphane and indole.

Surprising Facts about Antioxidants

The National Institute on Aging, an arm of the United States National Institutes of Health, developed a measurement system for comparing antioxidant capacity in nutrients. The unit of measurement is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). It turns out that small amounts of herbs and spices are more heavily packed with antioxidants than larger amounts of fruits and vegetables. For example, just one teaspoon of ground cinnamon scores a 6956 on the ORAC scale, whereas a comparatively large half cup of broccoli rates a 620.

The top five antioxidants are found in beans and blueberries, according to the June 9, 2004 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rated just fruits, vegetables and nuts, and came up with this order:
  1. half cup of small, dried red beans
  2. one cup of wild blueberries
  3. half cup of dried, red kidney beans
  4. half cup of pinto beans
  5. one cup of cultivated blueberries
Number 17 on the USDA list is the common, humble and cheap russet potato. It was developed over 100 years ago and if grown in Idaho, USA, is called the Idaho potato. Besides rated highly for antioxidants, the lowly russet is nutritious. Nutritiondata.com analyzed a large, cooked potato that had seven grams of fiber, eight grams of protein, minimal salt and sugar and no sat or trans fats.

Although it had 290 calories, it was high in vitamin C. The trick is not to spoil this wholesome food with unhealthy condiments.

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Sesame Oil


Sesame Oil

Sesame oil comes from an annual herb (Sesamum indicum). The plant is a warm weather plant that grows from the tropics to warm temperate regions. The major producing countries are China, India, Sudan, and Mexico. The seed is 40 to 60 percent oil and is used directly for food when it is cold pressed. The oil is also recovered by mixed expeller and solvent extraction. Sesame paste is a famous food in the lands along the eastern Mediterranean.

Sesame oil has very good oxidative constancy, which is thought to be related to sesamin or another unknown antioxidant in the native oil. When sesame oil is added to other oils for use in frying, the oxidative actions of the recipient oil are improved. The oil is pale yellow and without odor after refining, but also is sold in a darker version for use in Asian cooking.

The fatty acid composition has some similarities to peanut oil in that the levels of oleic acid and linoleic acid are quite similar. Typical composition of sesame oil is 10 percent palmitic acid, 5 percent stearic acid, 41 percent oleic acid, and 43 percent linoleic acid. Typical tocopherol values are 136 mg/kg a-tocopherol and 290 mg/kg ү- tocopherol for a total of 426 mg/kg.
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