The process of oxidation is where it all begins. The minute your body starts to process oxygen in order to produce energy is the first step to potentially developing a disease or starting the slow process of aging.
It’s normal and it is a part of life. Certainly, it can’t be completely dispelled. It can however be controlled. Now, by “control”, we don’t mean controlling the process of oxidation itself, but controlling the outcome of it.
The oxidation process is what makes a cut apple turn brown and causes the surface of butter to turn dark yellow. Our bodies will always be vulnerable to oxidation and it is something that is beyond our hands to control. During oxidation, certain chemical substances are produced and among them are those that are highly reactive and chemically unstable. These substances are called free radicals.
Free radicals can be harmful to the body, especially if there is an excess of them. They may cause damage to the cell membranes, causing them to weaken. Because free radicals are chemically unstable, they have this bad habit of stealing electrons from stable molecules and in so doing, turn these molecules into free radicals themselves. The result is a chain reaction which can only be stopped with the entrance of antioxidants.
Herbal antioxidants are the body’s natural defenses against harmful radicals. Their function is to stop free radicals from “attacking” other healthy molecules and causing a chain reaction. Because of this function, herbal antioxidants are said to play a role in the prevention and potential cure of various degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, and several others.
If there is one other thing you need to know about herbal antioxidants, it is that they are not naturally found in the body. Human beings are one of the few organisms that cannot produce their own herbal antioxidants for the body’s use. That is why we have to depend on our diet in order to get our dose of herbal antioxidants.
Herbal antioxidants are of course found in fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables. A large number of members of the berry family are excellent sources of herbal antioxidants. In fact, most herbal antioxidants you find sold in health food stores today are comprised mainly of berry extracts. Studies have shown that berries are rich in certain herbal antioxidants that help reduce atherosclerosis by acting on the agents that causes the clogging and the hardening of the arteries.
A New Orleans study has revealed a new antioxidant that is believed to be more potent that vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene. This new disease-fighting substance is said to be found in red grapes, whose juice and skin may offer more than just wine.
The antioxidant red grapes are contained in the seeds of the fruit. Scientists say that these antioxidant red grapes may offer significant protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, and many other chronic and degenerative diseases.
The new study on antioxidant red grapes, released in April 9, was conducted by researchers at Creighton University in Omaha. The group of researchers who conducted the study say that a compound extracted from the seeds of red grapes called Activin ™ is that substance with powerful antioxidant red grapes properties. Because of its apparent powerful benefits, Activin was dubbed as the “super” antioxidant red grapes.
During the research, the group tested the ability of the antioxidant red grapes Activin in neutralizing and inhibiting the damage caused by fee radicals in the brains and livers of mice. Afterwards, they then compared the effects of the new antioxidant red grapes compound to the more popular antioxidants – vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene.
Lead researcher of the Creighton team, Dr. Debasis Bagchi, announced that Activin seemed to exhibit more powerful potential compared to the other antioxidants.
“Our studies show that Activin is a more potent antioxidant than vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene – up to seven times more potent,” Bagchi said when he reported the findings of their study at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans.
“Activin is a powerful inhibitor of free radical induced lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation,” Bagchi further explained. “This is significant because free radicals can destroy cell membranes and damage DNA, and may be a root cause of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and even the aging process itself.”
The findings of this study on antioxidant red grapes may also help explain the scientific logic behind the French paradox – why the French have less risk of heart disease even when they eat the richest types of food. Red wine has always been considered more beneficial compared to white wine in preventing heart disease. Apparently, the antioxidant red grapes are the reason for that since red wine is fermented with the seeds while white wine is not.
This most recent discovery of significant antioxidant red grapes adds to the growing reputation of the red grape as a healthful food. It also follows on the recent wave antioxidants are generally making in the scientific community these days.