Antioxidants to the Rescue . If you asked me for one major supplement to help make a huge contribution to your good health, I’d tell you to plunge into antioxidants.Many kinds of fruits, vegetables, and beans are loaded with antioxidants, and there’s a galaxy full of various antioxidant supplements on the market. They’re added to teas, skin creams, and power shakes. New health benefits to these natural wonders are being discovered all the time, and even acknowledged by conventional medicine.
What are antioxidants, and how can they improve our health?
Antioxidants are substances which normally occur in many foods to counteract “oxidation” in bodily tissue. Oxidation is a physiological process whereby “free radicals” enter our cells from both inside and outside sources and cause us to lose electrons, thereby altering other more beneficial substances within our bodies.“Free radicals” are broken pieces of molecules, sometimes described as “unattached” parts of chemically active atoms that can be highly destructive to human and other animal health. They can enter our cells from merely breathing, from bodily inflammation, or from our environment.
Free radicals slowly destroy cell structures. They are capable of ravaging individual body cells and eventually the integrity of many organs. Unchecked free radical activity puts us at higher risk for premature aging and has been linked to Cancer, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, attention disorders, allergies, infections and many more ailments.
Enter the antioxidants – nature’s disease fighters. They can reduce blood cholesterol, lower the risk of stroke, promote digestive and urinary tract health, help prevent various cancers, protect blood vessels, organs, joints and neural functions of the brain, and lower the effects of stress. WOW. That’s just naming a few of the benefits!
According to research by Tufts University in Boston for USDA Nutritional Guidelines, and other experts, these foods win highest praise for being delicious providers of antioxidants:
- prunes, raisins
- raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
- strawberries, cranberries (including juice), pomegranates
- spinach, kale, broccoli, eggplant
- pinto beans, red, black and kidney beans
- sweet potatoes
(Antioxidants in plant-based foods can sometimes also be classified as “flavonoids”.)
There’s a catch: We can’t absorb all we need from food
In today’s technological world where food may be altered during production and we’re exposed to many chemicals and toxins, our bodies can’t absorb all necessary antioxidants from what we eat or drink. Beside that, our fast-paced life and fast-food options have disturbed our digestion and metabolism process. Most of us must admit that the healthy foods listed above aren’t always the first thing we reach for! So we need supplemental antioxidants.