What are antioxidants and why are they important?

Our bodies are actually battlegrounds for infection and diseases. Normal body functions, such as breathing or physical activity, and other lifestyle habits, such as smoking, produce substances called free radicals that attack healthy cells. When these healthy cells are weakened, they are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers.

Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and carotenoids, which include beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Eat Your Veggies

Antioxidant vitamins are essential to good health and are found naturally in a wide variety of foods and plants, including many fruits and vegetables.

The American Heart Association recommends that people eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods daily from all the basic food groups. But if you know you are not getting enough of the foods you should, supplementation could be very beneficial.

Eating a variety of foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol will provide a natural source of these vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Antioxidant Kitchen Spices

Kitchen spices like garlic, onions, and pepper seeds are great anti-oxidants. You can include them in your daily meals or you can concoct a health drink out of it. Clean them thoroughly and chop them up. Cook them up in boiling water and let it stew for a few minutes. Drain it with a strainer and you have an anti-oxidant drink ready for you use.

Green Tea and Olive Oil Antioxidants

Antioxidant content in green tea and olive oil fades during storage, according to researcher findings. They report that olive oil and green tea should be consumed in a timely manner to reap the full health benefits. Researchers found that antioxidant levels in eight types of green tea fell by an average of 32 percent after six months. Likewise, researchers who analyzed several varieties of extra virgin olive oil found that antioxidants remained stable during the first three months of storage, but that the oils lost close to 40 percent of their antioxidants after six months.

Did You Know?

Delegates at the EuroMedLab conference in Glasgow said that whiskey contains significantly higher levels of a powerful antioxidant that kills cancer cells due to ellagic acid. One researcher, Dr. Swan, said that ellagic acid is a highly effective ‘free radical scavenger’ that actually ‘absorbs’ or ‘eats up’ rogue cells that occur in the body during eating.

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