Monday, May 11, 2009

Antioxidants ... an important key in anti-ageing!

What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are provided to our bodies through eating a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Many of the commonly advertised fruits with antioxidant power are acai berry and pomegranates, but these are only a couple of fruits that supply these powerful supporters of cell renewal. Antioxidants also help your body reverse the effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by Free Radicals. Free radicals are created naturally in the body as a response to viruses and bacteria, but many are created from the absorbtion of pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides, just to name a few. In order to balance the body's systems and fight the damage that is caused by free radicals it is very important that antioxidants are consumed regularly. If the proper balance of antioxidants and free radicals is not managed, the free radicals cause damage to the body's ability to regenerate. In other words, new cell growth is slowed and damaged.

There is much discussion on whether our food sources of nutrients; including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are sufficient to provide the needed resources for our bodies to build healthy cells. Eating organically grown foods definitely helps because it lessens the herbicides and other chemicals that we can absorb from our food, but more importantly there are some very good supplements that you can use to help replace what you are not getting from your food. Supplements should never take the place of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and lean protein, but they can help fill in some of the gaps.

In order to ensure that you are receiving a good variety of antioxidants, be sure to eat 5-8 servings of fresh vegetables and fruits daily. The more raw they are, the better. Cooking vegetables for even a few minutes reduces their nutritional value drastically. Remember to eat a variety of different colors of these foods also.
  • Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene which helps the cardiovascular system, fight against cancer and aging, among other antioxidant qualities.
  • Deep blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids which strengthen cell walls promoting stable blood pressure and helps prevent cancer.
  • Orange and Yellow fruits and vegetables are high in Vitamin C, Beta Carotene and Vitamin A. The many uses of vitamin C are yet to be discovered, it has proven to be a great cancer fighter, & is great for immune support. Vitamin A is great for skin and eyes.
  • Green colored produce including spinach, kale and broccoli help with Folate levels, fight against Colon and breast cancer, and it helps protect eyesight and prevent birth defects.
  • White produce is high in flavonoids. These include bananas, potatoes and garlic which is a great natural antibiotic.

Of course nature does make it easier to eat more of a specific fruit or vegetable when they are in season. Our bodies have over the centuries grown accustomed to this, but remember to mix and match the colors in your diet as often as possible to help all portions of your body. What good are healthy eyes, if your cardiovascular system is weak???

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