Do you take antioxidant supplements to improve your health? Should people with diabetes add foods containing antioxidants to their diabetic meal plans? Antioxidants are substances found in some foods which cannot be produced by the human body. Your body uses antioxidants to cancel out the harmful effect of free radicals which are unstable molecules. Free radicals attack the body and can cause widespread harm by damaging polyunsaturated fatty acids in lipoproteins cell membranes, disrupting lipoproteins from transporting cholesterol in and out of cells, and destroying cell proteins and DNA. If free radicals are allowed to freely attack the body in this way, health problems like arthritis, cataracts, heart disease, and cancer become more likely.
By neutralizing these free radicals, antioxidants may reduce the risk of cancer by preventing DNA damage. They also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing arteries from clogging due to damaged cholesterol-carrying mechanisms. Fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in the diet provide with the antioxidants necessary to control free radicals and prevent chronic health problems like atherosclerosis and other kinds of heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers. It is unclear if taking supplements containing these compounds can have the same beneficial effects. Because people with diabetes may be more prone to the damage of free radicals, they will benefit greatly from adding foods containing them to their diabetic meal plans.
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