Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why do I Need Antioxidants?

For years antioxidants have featured in anti-aging products and been a part of anti-aging nutrition plans. But the real power in antioxidants is their disease fighting qualities. 

Even mainstream doctors are now advising cancer survivors to eat a nutritionally balanced diet rich in antioxidants, to fight free radicals and help stop cancer recurring.

Why do I need antioxidants

Even though they’ve graced the pages of magazines, medical journals and every product from hand cream to supplement pills, many people still don’t fully understand what antioxidants are and what they actually do.

Why You Need Antioxidants In Your Diet

Antioxidants are substances that fight disease, and the aging process that goes on in your body.  They are not produced by the body so to get the benefit of these power-packed substances you must ingest them.  A variety of foods contain antioxidants.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  The body continually replenishes its cells.  Through a process called cellular metabolism, the body produces energy, creates more cells and repairs any damage.  One by-product of cellular metabolism is unstable molecules called free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that damage your body.  They are unstable because they are missing an electron.  To get another one and become stable, free radicals will steal electrons from cells.  That theft damages the cells in a variety of ways.

The results are visible and invisible changes to our bodies.  The development of diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and neurological deficiencies may begin to affect you as you age.  Also, thinner skin wrinkles and brittle bones are a problem.  

Free radicals enter our body from outside sources as well: cigarette smoke, radiation and the sun’s UV rays.  The more free radicals we encounter, the greater the damage that can be done.

Antioxidants have been shown to be of great help in the free radical problem.  Antioxidant substances combine with free radicals and neutralize them.  Once they are neutralized, they can no longer do any damage.  

Scientists don’t have any idea of a recommended daily dose of antioxidants to correct free radical damage and the diseases that come with age, but they do know that eating foods rich in antioxidants makes a huge difference to our health and therefore our quality of life as we age.

Where do you find antioxidants?  They are all around us.  Look no further than your local farmer’s market or produce aisle in the grocery store.  Fruits and vegetables contain the principle sources of antioxidants.

Examples of antioxidants include:

·         Vitamin A
·         Vitamin C
·         Vitamin E
·         Lutein
·         Lycopene
·         Beta-carotene

Certain minerals like zinc and selenium also function in the body.  They are not antioxidants but they boost the immune system to fight against free radical damage.

Antioxidants are also found in nuts, legumes, cold water fish and seafood.  So, eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables plus those foods will increase the amount of antioxidants in your system and help reduce the incidence of disease.  

Eating fruits and vegetables in their natural form instead of juices brings the benefit of other nutrients found in the foods.  Many juices also contain added sugar that is not needed by your body. Smoothies are a good compromise if you find you struggle to eat enough fruits and veggies.

Food does more than stave off hunger.  Introduce ore antoxidants into your diet today to help you live longer and stay free of disease.

Have you grabbed your free guide to optimal nutrition yet, Eating For Success? 

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