You may have come across terms like “antioxidant”, “free radical” or “oxidative stress”. A free radical is a chemical that readily gives up an electron—it sort of fires the electron like a chemical bullet. Free radicals can damage tissue and produce inflammation; they create oxidation. Sometimes the term “oxidative stress” is used to describe the damage done by free radicals. Oxidative stress has been linked to cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, ischemic injury, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). Flavonoids may help provide protection against these diseases by contributing to the total antioxidant defense system of the human body. Antioxidants are vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals that act like little “bullet-proof vests”. Antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, bioflavonoids, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 and other substances found in the diet and taken as supplements act to protect the cells.
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