Many people are very curious about antioxidants these days. In fact, many people want to know what antioxidants are and what they do. They are becoming more popular as people become more concerned about their health and what they are eating. One area of particular interest is heart health and aging. There are several benefits to taking antioxidants for heart health and other health issues.
First, let us define antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that interfere with oxidation, a chemical process that occurs in cells. Normally, oxygen molecules are attracted to oxidizing substances and, as a result, a chain reaction is formed. Antioxidants like vitamin C or beta carotene interrupt this chain reaction by neutralizing the oxidizing substances. In other words, antioxidants are like a guard dog that stops the car running into a fence at sixty miles per hour.
Secondly, we need to understand what antioxidants actually do. Studies have shown that they can prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and other age-related diseases. As we age, our body produces less antioxidants leaving us susceptible to disease and free radicals. Antioxidants provide an important shield against these harmful chemicals.
Now, let’s consider a diet rich in antioxidants. If you eat a diet rich in antioxidants you will have increased levels of vitamins A, C, E, and K in your blood stream. When combined with lutein and zeaxanthin, these vitamins form antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals and damage from internal infections, which cause fatigue, weakness and joint pain. Foods such as tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and sweet potatoes contain high levels of antioxidants.
The benefits of antioxidants are not limited to a rich diet. Increasing levels of antioxidants also requires eating plenty of foods containing antioxidants. Some examples of foods containing high antioxidants include: vegetables, legumes, berries, tomatoes, and spinach. Legumes, beans, and spinach contain isoflavones. Isoflavones prevent the damaging effects of certain hormones (estrogens) and free radicals.
You can add antioxidants to your diet by choosing foods that contain antioxidants. These foods include fruits and vegetables. Choose dark colored produce if you want higher levels of antioxidants. Eat plenty of fruits, especially dark colored ones, because fruits contain the most nutrients and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are essential to keep your body functioning properly.
The health benefits of antioxidants can be increased if you eat a diet low in fat but rich in fruits and vegetables. A diet low in fat and high in vegetables contains all the nutrients necessary for a healthy diet and supplements if you need a little extra vitamin C or any other vitamin. Some good food choices with vitamin C are salmon, citrus fruit, tomatoes, and spinach.
Another way to get the amount of antioxidants you need is to eat whole grains. Whole grains have complex carbohydrates, which helps protect the body from free radicals. Other examples of whole grains include brown rice, oats, barley, and oat bran. It is important to choose whole grains such as oats, barley, and wheat bran, because they have more fiber than flours. These foods help prevent heart disease and other health problems.