There is lot of talk about the fitness benefits of antioxidants in the news and in current health studies. And while that might be attention-grabbing news, some of you may be wondering what antioxidants are and what they accomplish. Are there various types of antioxidants? How do we obtain a sufficient amount of them in the food that we eat? And how does eating a diet high in antioxidants srenghthen our bodies capability to defend against free radicals?
Antioxidants are substances that shield cells from harm by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules capable of damaging cells and tissue and antioxidants fight against free radicals constantly. Free radicals are increased by injury, stress, pollution, and illness and since their discovery; they have been implicated as key players in ill health--as well as accelerating the aging process. The more free radicals that are formed, the further antioxidants are needed to neutralize them.
Vitamins C and D, and slenium and beta carotene are examples of some of the most powerful antioxidants. By combining all of them together you can create a powerful immune system and effectively destroy the free radicals. Our body produces a few enzymes that feed on the free radicals, but they are not enough control all of the free radicals that are introduced to our bodies. We dont manufacture antioxidants in our bodies, therefore we need to consume foods that are high in antioxidants like fruit and vegetables.
As an antioxidant, vitamin A protects cell membranes and fatty tissue and it helps in repairing damage that has been caused by polluted air,helps teeth and bone development, and boosts our immune system. Eggs, liver and dairy products have a high content of vitamin A.
Carotenoids lower the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and help to strengthen the immune system. They are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, kale, spinach, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which supports the immune system and the cardiovascular system.Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which supports the immune system and the cardiovascular system. Good sources include citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant by itself, but is magnified when it is ingested with other antioxidants such as vitamin C, selenium, and beta carotene. Good sources include nuts, seeds, fish oils, whole grains, and apricots.
Flavonoids enhance the beneficial activities of vitamin C and can help support a healthy immune system. They are primarily found in fruits and vegetables and some teas. Flavonoids are a pigment in plants and fruits that acts as an antioxidant to protect against damage from free radicals. In the body, flavonoids enhance the beneficial activities of vitamin C and can help support a healthy immune system.