How antioxidants help keep us healthy

By Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 19 2014 11:27 PM | Updated as of May 20 2014 06:42 PM

MANILA -- Food products and food supplements with antioxidants have become popular. But do we really understand how antioxidants work?

On Tuesday's episode of DZMM's radio show "Magandang Gabi Dok," urologist Dr. Joseph Lee explained how antioxidants help keep a person healthy.

Antioxidants are components that help strengthen the body and the immune system by destroying free radicals.

Free radicals are formed when people suffer from oxidative stress.

"Kailangan ng katawan ang oxygen para sa enerhiya. Kapag nagkaroon ng toxins sa katawan, mas marami ang kailangang oxygen ng katawan, pero hindi siya kaagad nare-replenish," Lee said.

The lack of oxygen in the body produces free radicals that can destroy and kill cells in the body.

When cells die, a person's immunity becomes weaker, making one prone to infection and other diseases.

"Nagkakaroon din ng lines, wrinkles sa balat kapag namatay ang cells," Lee said.

Antioxidants are naturally occurring in some fruits and vegetables, but some contain more antioxidants than others.

Lee said acai berries have the highest antioxidant content among all berries.

These berries come from the forest of Brazil and the Amazon.

Different forms of acai berries are available in different countries.

Among the antioxidants that can be found in acai berries are anthocyanin, phytophenols and phytochemicals, theobromine, ellagic acid, and acai acid.

Anthocyanin is responsible for the berry's color. Lee said that the darker the color, the more anthocyanin a fruit has.

Phytophenols and phytochemicals aid in blood movement and circulation, while theobromine helps the cardiovascular and respiratory system.

Ellagic acid and acai acid, on the other hand, help improve the skin and the cell system.

Although most food supplements are safe and do not have any side effects, Lee said it is still better to consult a doctor first before trying any food supplement, as some products may react with other medicines.

"Bago po tayo uminom ng food supplement, magpa-check po muna tayo sa doctor lalo na kung may gamot tayong iniinom."