Susan Silberstein & Marilyn Joyce (Health and Nutrition Educator & Heath Counselor) gives expert video advice on: What are "antioxidants"? and more...
What are "antioxidants"?
Antioxidants are what we call "free radical scavengers," and free radicals are unstable little molecules that are actually lacking an electron, so they seek an electron. Free radicals are like little "Pacmen" that grab onto the healthy cell membrane where there are electrons, and like a Pacman, just munch one off, so they become stabilized. Your healthy cell membrane is unstable, and it requires that electron back. What happens is the antioxidants are introduced to the body, preferably through food sources, and they will go into the free radical system and literally kill or destroy the free radicals. Thus, antioxidants free up the electrons to then be utilized again by the healthy cells, or to create a healthy cell membrane.
What are "alpha" and "beta carotenoids"?
Alpha and beta carotenoids are actually substances that are found in most red, orange, green, and yellow vegetables and some fruits. They're essential for the functioning of basically all of the metabolic functions throughout the body. They are necessary for the production of energy as well, and so they're absolutely necessary. However, most of our emphasis is put on one beta carotene. There are at least a hundred different beta carotenes, but we focus on one. That's what you're going to find in a supplement; one form and lots of it. The body can't function effectively with just one carotenoid. The body is based on utilising all of the various carotenoids, alpha and beta, from the fruits and vegetables that we ingest. So, if you only get one, you're going to get a build-up of that one versus the body being able to utilise it. The body will store beta carotene; it's not toxic like vitamin A. They body will store the beta carotene or the carotenoids until they're needed for use by the body. If, on the other hand, you're only getting one type or one form of the beta carotene, and you're not getting the multitude of different carotenoids in your diet, then that's not going to happen as effectively. You might, actually, from the research that we're seeing now, have an overdose of that particular carotenoid that you're taking in a supplement form.
What is "lycopene"?
Lycopene is what makes tomatoes red or watermelon red. It's actually a family of phytochemicals that have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, and recently they've discovered a reduction potential for breast cancer in women. However It is actually the substance that creates the red colour in different fruits and vegetables. It's interesting because one of the most important things that I try to teach my clients is if you seek out the rainbow of colours as much as possible on an every day basis, you're going to get all of these nutrients into your body in one form or another. With lycopene the interesting part is that often times they found that, for example, with tomatoes, you might actually be better off to have tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, or cooked tomatoes in some form or another in order for the tomato to be bioavailable.
What are "phytonutrients"?
Phytonutrients are plant chemicals, Plant phytochemicals, phytonutrients, they're plant chemicals and there is so many families of them. In 1991we only knew of 12,455 phytochemicals, plant chemicals or plant nutrients. And we didn't know anything else about them. Basically, they have, each group, each family has individual prosperities that have individual responsibilities for protecting us in various ways whether it's to protect against cancer or heart disease, against MS or fibromyology, against Alzheimer's. My thought is that we gonna find that you need all of the different nutrients over the course of a week in order to provide the foundation for health and protection against all those illnesses. It's not one family of nutrients or one family of phytochemicals. It's all of the different families of phytochemicals are necessary for our health.