The Power of Antioxidants for Staying Young
Everyone wants to grow old gracefully. Some go under the knife to get that youthful look while
others opt for a more natural way to maintain that healthful glow. The way to make peace with age
can be found in the types of foods that we eat and the miracle ingredient they contain.
This hidden “miracle” is called antioxidants. They have graced the pages of magazines, medical
journals and every product from hand cream to supplement pills. But what are antioxidants and what
can they do to keep you looking your best?
Antioxidants are substances that fight the aging process that goes on in your body. They are not
produced by the body so to get the benefit of these power-packed substances you must ingest them. A
variety of foods contain antioxidants.
Let’s go back to the beginning. The body continually replenishes its cells. Through a process
called cellular metabolism, the body produces energy, more cells and repairs any damage. One
by-product of cellular metabolism is unstable molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that damage your body. They are unstable because they are missing an
electron. To get another one and become stable, free radicals will steal electrons from cells. That
theft damages the cells in a variety of ways.
The results are visible and invisible changes to our bodies. The development of diseases like
cancer, diabetes, arthritis and neurological deficiencies may begin to affect you as you age. Also,
thinner skin wrinkles and brittle bones are a problem. Free radicals enter our body from outside
sources as well: cigarette smoke, radiation and the sun’s UV rays. The more free radicals we
encounter, the greater the damage that can be done.
Antioxidants have been shown to be of great help in the free radical problem. Antioxidant
substances combine with free radicals and neutralize them. Once they are neutralized, they can no
longer do any damage. Scientists don’t have any idea of a recommended daily dose of antioxidants to
correct free radical damage and the diseases that come with age, but they do know that eating foods
rich in antioxidants makes a huge difference in how we live.
Where do you find antioxidants? They are all around us. Look no further than your local farmer’s
market or produce aisle in the grocery store. Fruits and vegetables contain the principle sources
Examples of antioxidants include:
* Vitamin C
* Vitamin A
* Vitamin E
Certain minerals like zinc and selenium also function in the body. They are not antioxidants but
they boost the immune system to fight against free radical damage.
Antioxidants are also found in nuts, legumes, cold water fish, seafood and red meat. So, eating a
varied diet of fruits, vegetables and the foods just named will increase the amount of antioxidants
in your system and help reduce the incidence of disease. Eating fruits and vegetables in their
natural form instead of juices brings the benefit of other nutrients found in the foods. Juices
also contain a lot of sugar that is not needed by your body.
Food does more than stave off hunger. Natural substances found there can cause us to live longer
and stay free of disease as we age.
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