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Free Radicals - The Cause of Aging and Disease
Free radicals are produced from normal body functioning. Chemicals in the water and food we drink and eat, and emotional and mental stress from our lifestyle. The most damaging free radicals are the superoxide, hydroxyl, peroxide and peroxynitrate.

Dr. James Balch in his book "The Super Anti-oxidants" said that while the damage from oxidation cannot be minimized, the body can be armed with means of dealing with the problem of oxidation. These are the anti-oxidants.

Anti-oxidants perform the following health functions:
1. Scavenge from radicals.
2. Intercept the chain reaction between different oxidants.
3. Breakdown free radicals into more easily synthesized compounds.

The key to nutritional health is to provide the body with anti-oxidants. The anti-oxidants needed by the body are made up of several types:
1. Amino Acids, 2. Enzymes, 3. Beta Carotenes 4. Bioflavonoids 5. DHEA 6. Co-Enzymes

These anti-oxidants can all be found in the food we eat. Being healthy is basically founded on proper nutrition, i.e., a diet of fresh fruits, grains and vegetables. These foods contain the micronutrients which interact in the body as anti-oxidants. Most of these micro-nutrients are lost in the processing and cooking of food. new ways to provide supplemental micronutrients are needed.

Nutraceutical is a term coined by Dr. Stephen L. DeFelice, M.D., Chairman of The Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, over a decade ago "to describe any food or food part taken for health benefits". Products in this industry include soups, beverages, processed cereals, and of course, herbal supplements.

Important Plant & Fruit Base Of Nutraceuticals:
1. Beta-Carotene from yellow to red fruits and vegetables.
2. Bioflavonoids from red to purple plants and fruits.
3. Enzymes from fruits such as Papaya, Pineapple, Guava etc.
4. Anti-oxidants from specific plants such as Green tea, Ampalaya, Cucumber etc.

Health Benefits of Bioflavonoids
Studies have identified fruits with blue-to-purple colors as the Bioflavonoids, an anti-oxidant which provides protection against cancer, fights high cholesterol, strengthens blood vessel cell walls, fights viruses and inflammation, improves vision, protects against radiation, speeds healing of bleeding gums and varicose veins. lowers blood pressure and alleviates rheumatism.

These blue-to-purple fruits are rich in enzymes which are helpful in the treatment of stomach problems, liver conditions and in lowering sugar levels in diabetics.

Anti-Oxidant Enzymes
All living things have enzymatic activity. Enzymes make your body work. As long as our body make enzymes, we live. Although there are variations among individuals, our body's enzymatic activity generally begins to decline somewhere between the ages of 16 and 20, as our growth activity peaks.

A number of factors in our day to day lives can inhibit and destroy important enzymes in our bodies. These are: food additives, preservatives, coloring agents, flavoring, flavoring enhancers and pesticides in food.

Since every activity in our bodies require enzymes, replenishing the enzyme supply lost with aging can restore your body's natural enzyme balance and in turn, help fight disease and improve one's health condition.

Flavanoids & Carotenoids
It has been only recently that flavanoids and carotenoids have received any appreciable attention. The great importance of flavanoids and carotenoids lies in their anti-oxidant and anti-free radical properties.

Flavanoids and carotenoids are found in the beautiful colors of fruits and vegetables. Chlorophyll provides the greens, yellows, oranges and reds which are carotenoids. The blues, purples, emerald green and some reds are flavanoids. Certain flavanoids appear to posses cholesterol lowering effects. Flavanoids retard the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein which is considered involved in atherosclerosis.

Berries which are red to purple in color are rich in flavanoids. Recent studies show that the anthocyanin (the red pigment found in berries) is a strong anti-oxidant. The darker the berry, the stronger the protective pigments are against cancer and cellular damage to the body.

(Article courtesy of Carica Herbal Food Supplements)

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