Do You Really Understand Antioxidants?
It’s that age-old story of good versus evil. The bad guys: the reprehensible Free Radicals attacking the fats, proteins and DNA in our cells AGAINST the good guys: the courageous Antioxidants protecting us from evil by neutralising the Free Radicals.
I’m sure that you have heard the antioxidants are the miracle food that can cure disease, prevent cancer, slow down the ageing process etc etc.
I’m also certain that you know Antioxidants bring health benefits, but did you know that they are in fact essential for good health?
What Are Antioxidants?
In simple terms: Antioxidants are natural substances, found in plants, which work to prevent bad things happening inside your body – in essence they work to prevent disease and uphold good health.
Why Do We Need Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are important disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe that they help prevent and repair the stress that comes from oxidation, a natural process that occurs during normal cell function.
Most of the time, the body is able to efficiently manage old cells, but there are times when some of these cells are damaged and they become Free Radicals, with the potential to harm healthy cells and ultimately cause disease.
Unrestrained Free Radical activity has been linked to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease
Free Radicals also occur when you are exposed to toxic substances: for example cigarette smoke, high levels of alcohol, pesticides, chemicals, and pollution. The higher your exposure the higher the levels of Free Radicals in the body.
Don’t panic though: Free Radicals are essential to every day life and our immune system even uses them in order to defend itself from invading bacteria.
Too many Free Radicals in our body can be detrimental to good health, but our immune system is designed to fight against them and other undesirable elements. To aid this process it is essential that we maintain adequate Antioxidant defenses to combat all the excess Free Radicals.
The Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are able to help prevent disease and damage by locating the Free Radicals before they are able to damage the healthy cells. Neutralizing the Free Radicals immediately is the best way to stay healthy and avoid serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
How To Include Antioxidants With Your Everyday Habits
The most well known sources of Antioxidants include foods with beta-carotene – think the colour orange. Selenium – think Brazil nuts. Lycopene – think tomatoes, as well as vitamins A, C, and E.
The easiest way to consume what you need is by following the 5-a-Day rule which promotes eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day – but make sure that they are an array of colours to get the benefits. A simple change to your diet is to add one fruit or vegetable to every meal.
Even if you can’t stand eating fruit and vegetables there are other excellent sources of Antioxidants that include oats, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, herbs and spices.
Drink them too – think about juicing or smoothie making to create a delicious alternative. Drink green tea or black coffee (not instant), and even a small serving or red wine can be beneficial.
Make eating Antioxidant rich foods convenient for you as an individual and in turn you will be more likely to consume the amount you require.