Today marks the start of the April 2014 A to Z blogging Challenge. This is my first time participating, so I'm stoked and can't wait to see it through (mumbling the serenity prayer as I write)! Anyway, I was listening to the radio on Sunday as I accompanied my brother to the airport and heard a speaker mention antioxidants. I then thought; why not make it my subject for the first post in my theme of healthy living? So here we go.
News about antioxidants has graced our minds for the past several years. It is almost as if everywhere one turns, there is an article, a television program, or a workshop about antioxidants and nutrition, and health. By definition, antioxidants are molecular particles that aid in ridding the body of harmful substances called free radicals, which in larger quantities in the body cause substantial damage to the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) of cells. Sounds very frightening, but rest assured that the body’s immune system is naturally designed to overtake the damaging actions of free radicals, under normal conditions. All that is needed is a good dose of either external or internal sources of antioxidants! There is a lot to be said about antioxidants, but for the sake of simplicity, this article focuses on types and food sources of antioxidants.
Types of [A]ntioxidants
There are thousands of antioxidants found in nature in the form of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. You might be more familiar with vitamins C and E, and the caroteniods beta carotene and lycopene as antioxidants but, how about flavanoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and rest? These are the “good guys” that help our immune system eliminate the harmful by-products (free radicals) formed as daily physiological processes occur.
Now that we’ve gotten acquainted with antioxidants and types thereof, we ask ourselves, where to find them? How much to consume? Natural vs. artificial (supplemental) sources? Well, search no more! The good news is that antioxidants are found in fresh food, specifically fruits, vegetable, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. The key word here folks, is Fresh. Ensure that everything you consume is fresh and not overcooked as overcooking destroys the chemical composition of antioxidants, rendering them inefficacious. Chose foods from a rainbow of colors and most importantly, include a variety of foods.
- Abstain from supplemental sources of antioxidants, unless otherwise advised by your healthcare professional. Supplemental sources of antioxidants have been linked to toxicity
- Note that a balanced diet supplies an adequate amount of antioxidants for the body.
Sources:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/ http://nccam.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction.htm http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants
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