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Antioxidant minerals are minerals that have the ability to neutralize and eliminate free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can set off chain reactions and cause damage and even death in healthy cells. The actions of antioxidants are able to halt these chain reactions in order to prevent further damage. Some of the commonly known antioxidant minerals are the trace minerals selenium, zinc, and copper, which the body only requires in very little amounts. These and other antioxidant minerals can be obtained from many foods as well as from antioxidant supplements.
There are many factors that contribute to the formation of free radicals, which include air pollution, poor diet, and overexposure to the sun. When the free radicals are not neutralized, they begin to destroy cellular tissues, which ultimately results in oxidative stress and degenerative diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. When combined with other nutrients, antioxidants can help to form powerful antioxidant enzymes that help protect the body against this type of damage and premature aging.
Selenium, in particular, is able to offer a good defense against cancer and arthritis when combined with vitamin E. The risk of heart disease can also be reduced with selenium as it can help to maintain healthy blood vessels and in turn reduce the risk. Zinc is another powerful antioxidant mineral, which when combined with copper, creates an enzyme known as superoxide dismutase, which is able to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in the colon. The immune system is another area where antioxidant minerals can help. A strong immune system can ward off not only autoimmune disorders but many degenerative and infectious diseases as well.
Antioxidant minerals cannot be produced in the body. Rather, they are produced in the soil and absorbed into plants. From there, they can be absorbed into the body from the food sources or through mineral supplementation. Minerals can also be obtained from water, such as from a natural spring or mineral water.
Food sources of antioxidant minerals include many fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. Basically, anything that is grown in a mineral-rich soil will contain traces of the minerals. Meat, certain fish, and some dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, are also good sources. Antioxidant supplements are another good way to obtain the minerals; however, they should be taken in conjunction with antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients in order to maintain a healthy balance.