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What are antioxidants, and how are they helpful?


Antioxidants are elements that basically search out and destroy free radicals (see definition on free radicals). Antioxidants are derived from a variety of products. Plants are a plentiful and powerful source of antioxidants. For example, the antioxidant flavonoids in milk thistle target the liver. Those in ginkgo are reportedly attracted to the central nervous system, including the brain. Probably the most well-known plant antioxidants are carotenoids, the yellow pigment found in many fruits and vegetables. Of the many hundreds of carotenoids found in our food--primarily fruits and vegetables--many are antioxidants. Beta-carotene is the most abundant and well known carotenoid. Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, have all been shown to be very effective antioxidants. Many minerals such as selenium, zinc, copper, and manganese have been shown to have antioxidant properties.



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