Understanding The Role Of Antioxidants

4 Jun

All of the cells in your body are exposed to oxygen each and every day. As you are of course well aware, oxygen is vital for your body. However, there is a downside to all of this exposure. Oxygen causes oxidation to your body and to things in the environment. Let’s explain this further.

When we talk about oxidation in your body, we are referring to the way in which body chemicals are changed into free radicals. Environmental oxidation is exposure to factors such as pollution, the sun, and to alcohol. All of these conditions create free radicals.

Free radicals can cause damage to your body over time. While some cells are able to change and heal, others cannot. It is thought that free radicals could be responsible for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidants are a vital key to your health and happiness!

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The Power Of Antioxidants And Your Health

As such, antioxidants are important because they are natural substances. They have the ability to stop or reduce the damage that is being caused by free radicals. Your body is smart and will use antioxidants to stabilize the free radicals. They can potentially reverse much of the damage that has been caused.

The good news is that antioxidants can be found in many natural foods. While your body does produce some antioxidants by itself it never hurts to give your body a boost.

Get Enough Antioxidants With These Food Choices

To ensure your body is getting enough antioxidants, eat foods that are high in Vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and selenium. Good sources include fruits such as blueberries, pomegranates and acai berries.

Let’s look at some of your food choices, shall we?

  1. Vitamin A – good sources include eggs, butter, and liver
  2. Vitamin C – tomatoes, cauliflower, citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupes, kiwis, bell pepper, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  3. Vitamin E – good sources include nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts. Green leafy vegetables contain lots of Vitamin E so eat veggies like kale and spinach. Certain oils are also great sources, look for soybean, corn, canola and sunflower oils
  4. Beta-carotene – look for fruits and vegetables that have bright colors. This includes carrots, peas, cantaloupes, apricots, papayas, peaches, mangoes, pumpkin, apricots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and any squash
  5. Lutein – good sources of this can be found in most green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collars, corn, peas, broccoli, papayas and oranges
  6. Lycopene – look for fruits that are either red or pink. Watermelon, apricots, tomatoes and pink grapefruits are great choices
  7. Selenium – this can be found in animal products such as beef, fish, chicken, eggs, and cheese. It is found in bread and pasta, rice and in nuts and legumes.

Eat Foods Or Take Supplements Rich In Antioxidants

As you can see many of these fruits and vegetables contain more than one important nutrient. So eating enough should not be a problem for you. When adding new vegetables to your diet, eat them in small quantities so they do not upset your digestive system.

Many people prefer to take antioxidant supplements and you may prefer to go this route as well. If you do, then check with your doctor to make sure any supplement does not interfere with any medications you may be currently taking. It is important to ensure that any supplement contains a good balance of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

Always remember to include a good variety of foods in your diet. This way you are providing your body with plenty of antioxidants and the chance to avoid contracting any major disease!