Let’s Talk Antioxidants

Let’s Talk Antioxidants

We all know that pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and radiation from the sun are bad for our bodies, but did you ever wonder why? It’s because they create free radicals that damage the key building blocks of the body—our cells.

Interestingly, cells produce free radicals on their own as they convert food to energy and even during exercise. Fortunately, our bodies are armed with its own natural defenses called antioxidants. You can help your body through the eating of antioxidant-rich foods.

How do antioxidants protect us?

Antioxidants make free radicals more stable, which helps reduce damage to nearby cells or organs. We know this is important for helping you to stay healthy because studies show that free radicals may contribute to a number of health conditions. This is why increasing antioxidant-rich foods in your diet really can help support a healthy body.

Boost the antioxidants in your diet

Antioxidants can be in the form of vitamins (A, beta-carotene, C, and E), minerals (copper, selenium, and zinc), and other plant substances (carotenoids and phytochemicals). Eat a variety of the following foods to boost these antioxidants in your diet:

  • Carotenoids: Sweet potatoes, apricots, carrots, acorn squash, papaya, mangoes
  • Selenium: Tuna, salmon, shrimp, button mushrooms, mustard seeds
  • Beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupe, broccoli, thyme
  • Vitamin C: Strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli
  • Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, papaya, canola oil

Are you eating an antioxidant-rich diet?

The best way to know the answer to this question is to make sure you eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Since most antioxidants are found in healthy, whole foods, a person will not only gain help with promoting health but will also experience numerous other health benefits. For instance, foods containing antioxidants are often lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in fiber, all of which are also important for maintaining heart health and an ideal body weight.

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