Antioxidants are organic substances which are available from fruits, vegetables and other food sources. These substances include vitamins A, C and E, resveratrol, flavonoids and carotenoids. They are very useful to our health because they cleanse your cells from free radicals. These are toxic by- products of your body's metabolic process. These substances are one of the primary causes of cancer, heart diseases and other degenerative illnesses.
Antioxidant supplements are manufactured in large quantities all over the world. These are being offered to older people who are not too willing to change their diets to lower their risk of getting cancer and other ailments.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, more than 60 percent of Americans take multi vitamins or antioxidant supplements to lower their risk from cancer. Only a little over 30 percent altered their diet to prevent the disease.
Which is more effective, supplements or real food?
Several researches show that antioxidant supplements are beneficial to health, but most of these studies point out that natural foods are more effective than supplements in preventing cancer and other chronic illnesses.
The underlying reason for this is the fact that fruits and vegetables are loaded with plenty of nourishing substances than antioxidant supplements.
Recent studies also showed that a lot of natural foods actually contain up to five times more antioxidants than previously thought. This was confirmed by researchers from the Institute of Food Research in England. They discovered these nutritional facts in their recent study of natural foods like peaches, apples and nectarines.
Another factor that made real foods more effective than supplements is their being rich in fiber and energy. These nutrients are not included in the nutritional supplements that are distributed by manufacturers.
Fiber is an important substance that promotes the normal functioning of the digestive system. It also plays an active role in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of colon cancer.
Energy on the other hand, is the strength and vitality that foods contain to fuel up your body and brain cells. You can only get pure energy from natural foods.
A word from the experts
The American Heart Association does not recommend the use of antioxidant supplements to lower the risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses. The group said that further studies are still needed to ensure that they are beneficial and safe to use on a long-term basis.
The group added that the best way to prevent cancer and heart diseases is still a diet that includes more fruits and vegetables and the avoidance of fat, cholesterol and sugar.