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.
Antioxidants are found in selenium,beta-carotene,vitamin C, nad Vitamin D. The most efective way to combat the free radicals is to combine all of the antioxidants together to form a powerful army against the free radicals. The body has some natural enzymes that it produces to eliminate these free radicals, but antioxidants reinforce the power of the body to fight back. Our bodies do not create antioxidants, so it is imperative that we supply additional antioxidants with a proper diet.Antioxidants can be found in many fruits 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.
Cartenoids are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, kale, spinach, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit. Cartenoids can lower thee risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease.
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.
Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, fish oils, whole grains, and apricots.Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant by itself, but is magnified when it is taken with other antioxidants such as selenium, beta carotene, and vitamin C.
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. They are found primarily in vegetables and fruits,dark chocalate, as well as green or black tea.