Antioxidants are substances (both natural and artificial) that can help prevent, reduce or delay cell damage. These substances are mainly present in a wide variety of food sources, although they can also be present in the form of supplements.
Due to their ability to work against cell damage, it is possible for them to have a range of health benefits on our bodies, including an impact on cancer.
You can go through further details about how antioxidants can help prevent cancer by going through the following sections.
Can Antioxidants Prevent Cancer?
Antioxidants have several properties that can allow them to fight against cancer cells. They can also equip the cells in your body and boost your immunity considerably, allowing your body to resist the impact of cancer cells.
However, it is important to note here that antioxidants might not be able to fully and completely prevent cancer from impacting your body. While they can certainly help reduce the risk of you developing cancer, they are not able to definitively stop it or cure it.
You should also keep in mind that this might only be effective against certain kinds of cancers, with certain kinds of sources proving more useful than others.
This means that as long as you have the right amount of antioxidants in your body, you can expect that there is a slightly lower risk of developing cancer.
Even then, regular and healthy intake of foods rich in antioxidants can go a long way in keeping you healthy and slow the effects of aging.
Free Radicals And The Risk Of Cancer
Free radicals are molecules that contain unpaired electrons which can then make them extremely and highly chemically reactive. Technically, these free radicals can actually be beneficial to cells and bodily functions as long as they are present in small quantities.
Since our bodies have the natural ability to produce such free radicals on their own, there is not much you can do to control their creation. However, the problem can arise when such free radicals take on unnaturally high levels in our bodies, leading to cell damage and harm to the DNA.
This kind of damage can lead to the development of cancer in your body.
Through prolonged exposure to toxins, pollutants, microplastics, radiation, smoke and more, your body can end up having too large an amount of free radicals.
Commonly, ROS or reactive oxygen species are found more frequently in the human body. These include oxygen as one of their elements.
How Do Antioxidants Prevent Cancer?
Antioxidants can work against these free radicals present in your body can work to neutralize them. A high amount of oxidative stress due to these free radicals can lead to cancer, so when your body receives antioxidants, they can fight against the radicals and render them ineffective in terms of the harm that they can cause.
In this sense, therefore, these free radicals can no longer contribute to cell damage, thus ensuring and maintaining the regular and strong functioning of your cells. This can keep your body from developing cancerous cells.
These antioxidants also have a range of other benefits on your health that can strengthen your cells even more. For instance, they can boost your immunity, improve your cognitive health, maintain the health of your heart and improve other functions.
Types of Antioxidants That Can Help
There are several types of antioxidants whose intake can help your body fight against the excessive free radicals roaming around in there. These include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, provitamin A or beta-carotene, lipoic acids, phenolic acids, zinc, selenium, other carotenoids and more.
These types of antioxidants can go a long way in improving the functions of your body, leading to regeneration, healing, boosting immunity and enhancing the cells in the body.
These can then lead to a reduced risk of a variety of cancers.
For instance, vitamin C can help prevent cancer in the stomach, esophagus, oral pockets, pancreas and cervix. Vitamin E can help prevent cancer in the rectum and the prostate while vitamin A and beta carotene can generally reduce the risk of various kinds of cancers such as in the lungs, stomach, breasts, head and prostate, among others.
Antioxidant Food Sources
There are numerous food sources that you should incorporate into your diet so that you can glean their antioxidant properties. Regularly consuming these foods and maintaining proper nutrition and a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cancer.
There are various plant-based and animal-based food sources that you can consume. Examples include:
- Dark chocolate
- Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, turmeric
- Red wine
- Sweet potato
Should You Take Supplements?
Ideally, you should not take antioxidant supplements that claim to prevent cancer from developing in your body. This is because there is not enough research to prove or suggest that such supplements can have any such impact and many studies conducted have not led to conclusive or positive results.
In fact, there might be a higher risk of you developing cancer if you rely on supplements since they might contain several other chemicals that can put you at risk. They might also not contain a good combination of antioxidants and other nutrients.
It is, therefore, best to rely on food sources for your antioxidant intake.
How Do Antioxidants Prevent Cancer? Final Remarks
It is now clear that antioxidants can have a role to play in preventing, delaying or reducing the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers. This is due to their ability to neutralize the free radicals present in our bodies that can otherwise put us at greater risk of cancer and other conditions.
You can mainly glean these benefits from food sources rich in antioxidants. While there are also supplements, it is best to avoid them since they might do more harm than good. Further research is essential for using antioxidant properties when it comes to dealing with cancer.