Antioxidants. What exactly are they?
The term is familiar to us. We hear them mentioned all the time whenever there's a new scientific study being released in the American Health Journal or some such explaining how antioxidant juice from berries can aid in liver function or how antioxidant juice from red wine is the scientific reason behind the French paradox.
Antioxidants, it seems, have far more benefits than we realize.
A new study shows that antioxidant juice from pomegranate fruits may help fight the hardening of the arteries. Researchers have found that the antioxidant juice does this by reducing the damage in blood vessels caused by free radicals.
Free Radicals - What are they?
Now, I'm sure you know what free radicals are. This is probably not the first time you've heard about it. But for the sake of those who have only just stumbled on the term, free radicals are those unstable chemical substances that are highly reactive and are by-products of the process of oxidation in the body. Free radicals at a minimum can be good for the body since their function is to steal electrons from atoms of other molecules, but only if the molecule they're stealing the electrons from are foreign molecules in the first place. If they are healthy molecules, well that's a different story all together.
When free radicals start stealing electrons from healthy cells, that process causes many disorders to occur in the body. The cells will grow weak until they are eventually destroyed. Hence, diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, senility, and cancer are often attributed to the contributing factor of free radicals.
The Effects of Antioxidant Juice
The only way for the body to defend itself from free radicals is through antioxidants. Unfortunately, human beings are one of the few animal species that do not produce their own antioxidants. That is why we depend so much on our diet for our source of antioxidants.
In the study about antioxidant juice from pomegranates, researchers have found that the substance can effectively reverse the progression of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis causes decreased blood flow that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
The tests showed that antioxidant juice from pomegranates reduced the effects of stress on human blood vessel cells by stimulating the production of nitric oxide. This chemical is thought to help keep arteries open and keep blood flowing.