The body’s trillion or so cells face formidable threats, from lack of food to infection with a virus. Another constant threat comes from nasty chemicals called free radicals. They are capable of damaging cells and genetic material. The body generates free radicals as the inevitable by-products of turning food into energy. Others are in the food we eat and the air we breathe. Some are generated by sunlight’s action on the skin and eyes. Free radicals come in many shapes, sizes, and chemical configurations. What they all share is a voracious appetite for electrons, stealing them from any nearby substances that will yield them. This electron theft can radically alter the “loser’s” structure or function. Free radical damage can change the instructions coded in a strand of DNA. It can make a circulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL, sometimes called bad cholesterol) molecule more likely to get trapped in an artery wall. Or it can alter a cell’s membrane, changing the flow of what enters the cell and what leaves it. We aren’t defenseless against free radicals. The body, long used to this relentless attack, makes scads of molecules that quench free radicals as surely as water douses fire. We also extract free-radical fighters from food. These defenders are often lumped together as “antioxidants.” They work by generously giving electrons to free radicals without turning into electron-scavenging substances themselves. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of different substances that can act as antioxidants. The most familiar ones are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other related carotenoids, along with the minerals selenium and manganese. They’re joined by glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and many more. No single substance can do the work of the whole crowd. Insufficient levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, cause oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells. Oxidative stress is damage to cell structure and cell function by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and chronic excessive inflammation. Oxidative stress seems to play a significant role in many human diseases, including cancers.
The Haskap Berry - An Antioxidant Superstar
The superfood status haskap has earned is largely attributable to its very strong antioxidant properties. Haskap has high levels of antioxidants, up to three times that of a high bush blueberry. Haskaps are a great source of polyphenols, antioxidants and other flavonoids such as: Rutin, Ferulic acid, Epicatechin, Genistic acid, Protocatechuic acid, Caffeic Acid, Ellagitannins, Quercetin and many others which can potentially help fight cancer and other diseases. This high antioxidant content was confirmed using the traditionally used ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) method and the recently favoured FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma) method.
Antioxidants and Your Health
Antioxidnats are believed to proetect against many diseses, such as cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis as well as neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, they slow down aging in general. They are also a crucial component of anti-wrinkle diets as they can halp protect your skin from the harmful effects of environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke, the suns's ultraviolet radiation, and other factors that cause your body to produce free radicals. Other components that act as anti-wrinke agenst are Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin A, all of them are abundant in the Haskap berries. The flavenoids, especially Quercetin, also act as strong anti-wrinkle agents.