What are antioxidants? Look no further for the answers.
Antioxidants - What are antioxidants? These chemical substances deactivate potentially dangerous free radicals before they can injure a cell's machinery. Worldwide, researchers are discovering just what are antioxidants and how effective nature's antioxidants can be as our body's free radical "bouncers." Among the most recognized and dedicated bouncers are Vitamin A, C, and E. Vitamin C is the most powerful. Apple slices are kept from browning by dipping them in lemon juice, which is naturally rich in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), an antioxidant.
Each living cell produces its own antioxidants. But the ability to produce them decreases with age. That is why our diet should supply phytochemicals (which includes what are antioxidants), vitamins, and minerals. We hope this answers your question of "What are antioxidants?".
Anthocyanidins - Anthocyanidins are included in the "What are antioxidants?" question. These powerful antioxidants of the flavonoid family which constitute numerous differently colored compounds and occur in practically all parts of most higher plants. These pigments give the intense color to many fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, red raspberries, red cabbages and purple sweet potatoes.
Anthocyanins - represent a sugar or acid form of anthocyanidins. Next to chlorophyll, anthocyanins are the most important group of plant pigments visible to the human eye. They are one class of flavonoids that contribute to antioxidant capacity of fruits, but may have other biological affects.
What are antioxidants? They are anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have been shown to be powerful natural antioxidants which are beneficial to our health. Of the antioxidants, they show the most ability to penetrate cell membranes and provide protection. Research has linked anthocyanin activity to an increase in peripheral circulation, improved vision, enhanced immune systems, and wound healing.
Ellagic Acid - a phenolic compound naturally found in plants in the form of ellagitannin. Although ellagic acid is the bioactive agent that offers protection, the phytochemical is generally ingested in the naturally present ellagitannin form. Plants produce ellagic acid and glucose that combine to form ellagitannins, which are water-soluble compounds that are easier for animals to absorb in their diets. Consequently, small amounts of ellagitannins derived from natural sources may be more effective in the human diet than large doses of purified ellagic acid. These are not part of what are antioxidants.
Ellagic acid has been shown to be in the 'free form' in red raspberries at approximately 1.6 mg/gram (dry weight). Marion Blackberries have been found to have double (3.3 mg/g) that level of free ellagic acid. This phenolic substance has been shown to inactivate cancer-causing chemicals, and block carcinogens from attacking DNA.
Flavonoids - natural polyphenolic molecules common to most flowering plants (both flowers and foliage). These pigment compounds make up the largest group of antioxidant compounds in the polyphenol family. Anthocyanidins, proanthocyanins, and phenolics are types of flavonoids. One characteristic of nearly all flavonoids is that they enhance the functionality of vitamin C, itself a powerful part of what are antioxidants.
Freeze Dried - a process that removes ONLY the water from the fruit by using low temperatures and pressure. This process concentrates the full nutritional value of fresh berries into a small volume that does not require refrigeration, while preserving nature's premium flavor without additives. What are antioxidants? A big part of our freeze dried powders.
Nutrients - a group of chemicals present in food that provide energy, cell building and structural materials, and body chemistry regulating agents known to be essential for life. Nutrients are classes into: proteins, fats, carbohydrates (includes energy rich sugars), vitamins, minerals, and water.
ORAC - What are antioxidants measured with? Oxygen Radical Absorption (or Absorbance) Capacity is an assay that measures the antioxidant activity of a substance. That is, it quantifies the degree and length of time it takes to inhibit the action of an oxidizing agent - specifically oxygen radicals - known to cause damage to the delicate machinery of living cells. Substances assayed can include natural products such as fruits and vegetables, beverages, supplements, plasma, serum, and urine. Antioxidants 'sponge up' or remove free radicals.
Nutri-Fruit™ labels provide specific information as to the level of antioxidants typically present in each serving of fruit powder. Why is this important? The United States Department of Agriculture has determined that consuming fruits and vegetables with a high ORAC value may be the key to capitalizing on their healthful qualities.
Oxygen radicals and other free radicals - are formed in the biological process of oxidation. Think of an apple slice turning brown, or a nail rusting. These are easily recognized examples of oxidation. Highly unstable free radical molecules inside our cells try to stabilize themselves, causing oxidative "rusting" which can damage vital cell structures, membranes, and enzyme systems. Such attacks make our body less able to fight against the development of cancer cells, hardening of the arteries, premature aging, bacterial infections, etc.
Because of the oxygen we breathe every moment, each of our cells takes about 10,000 free oxygen radical "hits" per day. Oxygen is required for a complicated chemical process that takes place in living cells to convert sugar, fats, and phosphate into a usable form of energy that we need to live. Oxygen radicals are an unfortunate by-product of this process. In addition, free radicals can form from environmental pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, to name a few. What are antioxidants? The thing that helps stop free radicals.
Phenolics / Polyphenols - The structural 'backbone' for most of the antioxidants found in plants. These are molecules composed of at least two six-carbon rings (benzene rings) connected by a chain of three carbons. Various chemically active functional groups (oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, alcohols, etc) are attached to the carbons located along the chain or rings. Plants construct complex phenolic compounds, many called flavonoids, which may function to protect them from insects, diseases, and environmental stress. The phenols are a varied group of plant constituents that range from sugar-containing phenolic glycosides (such as Cyanidin-3-O-Glucoside) to salicylic acid. Phenols exhibit anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects, as well as antiviral properties.
Phytochemicals - another group of naturally occurring chemicals found in plants that we consumer as food, but these are not nutrients, vitamins, minerals or complex carbohydrates. Phytochemicals exhibit diversified physiologic and pharmacologic effects. They have been found to inactivate cancer-causing substances, stimulate the immune system, protect the heart from disease, and help prevent cataracts. These chemicals function best when obtained from the whole plant - be it fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and grains - rather than being extracted and taken individually in supplement form.
The major classes of phytochemicals are grouped as follows, based on their similar protective functions and individual physical and chemical characteristics: terpenes, which include the familiar carotenoids and lycopene; phenols which include flavonoids and isoflavones; and the sulfur-containing thiols common in cruciferous vegetables and onions.
A major feature of phytochemicals is their powerful role as antioxidants.
Proanthocyanins - a group of flavonoids, also called "condensed tannins," are polyphenolic compounds that give flowers and fruit a blue, purple, or red hue. Proanthocyanins are powerful free radical scavengers and what are antioxidants.
Quercertin - a type of flavonoid pigment that is a building block for other members of the flavonoid family of phytochemicals. This compound may be effective in reducing Low Density Lipoprotein peroxiation, thereby lowering the risk for heart disease. Quercetin may also be helpful against asthma and allergies because of its ability to reduce the inflammation in the airways and the release of histamine, respectively. This is not part of, "What are antioxidants?".
µmoleTE - used on Nutri-Fruit™ antioxidant fact panels to describe what are antioxidants. Our assays are conducted by the leading laboratory for ORAC analysis. Trolox, a water-soluble Vitamin E analog, is used as the calibration standard and the ORAC result is expressed as micromole (µmole) Trolox equivalent (TE) per gram. This assay provides a measure of the scavenging capacity of antioxidants against the peroxyl radical, which is one of the most common reactive oxygen species found in the body.