Understand your antioxidant ABC’s

Antioxidants are important nutrients that serve to protect your cells from a process called oxidation – how the cells break down food into energy.

Biological Rust is what your body experiences over time as it breaks down food and is exposed to harmful effects like second-hand smoke, toxins, and solar radiation.

Cellular Damage happens as free radicals assault your cells and your biological rust builds over time.

Diseases become more difficult for your body to handle as you age and your cells are less effective in recovering from being active.

Eating the right foods helps restore your body’s levels of antioxidants – carotenoids like fruits and vegetables, cruciferous like leafy greens and resveratrol’s like red wine and berries are all particularly good.

Free Radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that are created by oxidation, they’re the main culprits that damage your cell membranes and cellular DNA over time.

Glutathione is your body’s master antioxidant. It’s a molecule in your body that recycles other antioxidants, making them more effective and efficient.

Health benefits from antioxidants include supporting the immune system, maintaining brain function, protect the cardiovascular system, fighting different types of cancers, and other anti-aging effects.

If left uncontrolled, the oxidation process can lead to oxidative stress – when the production of free radicals exceeds the body’s ability to effectively deal with it, resulting in greater risks of long-term disease.

Just lightly cook your vegetables to get the biggest antioxidant benefits. Raw is best, but a light steam or saute can add flavor while keeping the good stuff intact.

Keep healthy snacks on hand – like nuts, berries, fruit and fiber cereal bars like Be. These snacks will do more than satisfy your hunger, they’re providing important antioxidants.

LDL Cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol can become trapped in your artery walls and cause a build of plaque – the main causes of heart disease and heart attacks – if free radicals build up over time.

Medical conditions can’t be cured by antioxidants, but they can aid in the prevention of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and age-related blindness.

Naturally occurring antioxidants from food should always be your first choice. A good diet provides a host of other benefits in addition to being rich in antioxidants.

Oxidation can’t be prevented – it’s part of our cell’s natural life cycles. But, the negative effects can be mitigated through a diet rich in antioxidants.

Plant-based food is the best sources of antioxidants – which is why fruits and vegetables come highly recommended.

Quercetin is an antioxidant that is found in fruits and dark leafy green vegetables – it’s one the main antioxidants in our diets and provides great benefits for the body.

Rainbow colors are your guide for which foods to choose for antioxidants. Orange = carrots and oranges, red = tomatoes and strawberries, yellow = sweet potatoes and mangoes, green = broccoli and spinach, blue/purple = blueberries and eggplant.

Supplementing your diet can help shore up your antioxidant intake if you’re not getting a perfect mix of different food sources.

Tannins have been shown to provide great antioxidant content, which is a nice change of pace from the regular fruits and vegetables. You have options like red wine, green tea, pomegranate juice or even dark chocolate.

Unique properties of one antioxidant are not interchangeable with others – there are no ONE cure-all antioxidants. It’s best to take a variety of antioxidants from a variety of sources.

Vitamins such as C and E work as antioxidants, in addition to the other benefits that they provide. So eating a vitamin-rich diet or supplementing with the right products can provide big health benefits.

Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts and are all great nut options for antioxidants.

(E)Xperts, such as your doctor or a dietitian, should be consulted on a yearly basis about your diet and use of supplements, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease. It is possible to take too many antioxidants, which can cause complications on their own, so always exercise care and caution.

You are responsible for determining what your best options for an antioxidant-rich diet should be. Consult the experts, plan out your diet, and then supplement the right way for your specific needs.

Zinc is one type of mineral that has been shown to have antioxidant benefits, especially for eye health.

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