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Antioxidants | Super Foods Made Easy

Antioxidant Food Sources

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that help our bodies fight free radicals-natural but toxic chemical reactions that occur in our bodies and damage our cells. Different antioxidants combat different free radicals, so it’s wise to know and use a wide range of antioxidant foods and vitamins that help preserve health and vitality.

Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant vitamin. Foods that contain the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C include oranges, lemons, grapefruits, cantaloupe, many leafy greens, broccoli and peppers. Beta carotene, found in carrots, is another antioxidant nutrient.

Garlic is another food known for its antioxidant properties. Garlic actually has many healthy properties and can even be used as an antibacterial.

Berries of almost every type are excellent antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all have antioxidant properties.

Although cooking can dilute the nutrients in food, most foods have more than enough to last. The antioxidant properties of red grapes are even found in wine, so it’s not necessary to eat raw foods in order to get antioxidant benefits.

And speaking of antioxidants that you can drink, don’t forget about tea. All different kinds of tea have these good-for-you properties, not just green tea, as was originally thought.

While nutritional supplements are available to help us get the nutrients we aren’t getting from food, the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (especially if those vegetables are broccoli and spinach) should provide most of the antioxidants you need. Especially for children, it’s wise not to get in the habit of relying on supplements when a naturally varied diet can provide for most nutritional needs. As we get older, however, it may become necessary to supplement certain vitamins and minerals for example, some older people lose the ability to naturally synthesize enough Vitamin B12. Vitamin D is another vitamin that may need to be supplemented in older people. Your doctor can do blood tests to determine if you could benefit from vitamin supplementation.

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Vitamins For Health

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Antioxidants

The word ‘vitamin’ has its root in ‘vitamine’ that means vital amine. Vitamins are powerful organic compounds found mainly in the food that we eat. Vitamins are essential for all human beings because they help cells and tissues to perform basic functions. Basically, vitamins are required for the growth of the body.

There are two types of vitamins- the water soluble vitamins and the fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are also called hormones. All the commonly known vitamins are water soluble vitamins, of which vitamin C or ascorbic acid is the most common. Earlier it was believed that all these vitamins belong to one group called B complex as they were all found in the same source. Later they were categorized as different vitamins.

Vitamin A, B1, B3, B5, B9, D, E, H, K, P, Choline and Inositol are some of the other vitamins. Few of these vitamins are known by their biological names, like vitamin B1 is known as thiamine and vitamin H, Biotin.

Vitamins form an essential component of the balanced diet that we eat. People with chronic illnesses are advised to take vitamin supplements by their doctors. Pregnant women and people suffering from bowel disorders need to watch out their vitamin intake. Bowel disorder retards the absorption of fat soluble vitamin. Folic acid is prescribed for a person suffering from thalassaemia. Patients with pernicious anemia have to be given injections of vitamin B12 because of its acute deficiency in their body.

We need small amounts of these vitamins on regular basis to help the body function smoothly and remain healthy. These vitamins help the organs to carry out their individual functions. In the absence of these vitamins, our body falls sick and suffers from vitamin deficiency diseases. There are enough vitamins present in our foods but if we don’t eat a balanced diet the external supplements will do the needful.

Vitamins are useful and mandatory for the body, but excess of everything is bad. Even vitamins taken in excess can cause severe damage to the body. For instance, the body needs only 400 to 800 units of vitamin D in a day. If this amount is exceeded, too much calcium gets absorbed by the bloodstream, which can damage the kidneys. Moreover, supplements can never replace the healthy diets, so it’s better to take vitamin-rich diet than take supplements.

Last word of caution: Do not take vitamins by gathering information from here and there. Consult your doctor. Remember, little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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Sources Of Concentrated Antioxidants

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Antioxidants

Every day we hear of the benefits of Antioxidants. I know most of us area already well aware of what antioxidants are, and the benefits it has on our health in general. However, few of us actually know the sources of antioxidants. Our standard meal does not always provide the sufficient antioxidants our body needs to maintain optimum health. This article will show you exactly where these super high concentrated antioxidants are in our everyday food!

Quick into on the benefits of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage free radicals otherwise might cause. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C, E, and A, and other substances.

Fruits and Vegetables: Great source of Antioxidants!

Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as in other foods including nuts, grains and some meats, poultry and fish. The list below describes food sources of common antioxidants.

Beta-carotene is found in many foods that are orange in color, including sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, pumpkin, and mangos. Some green leafy vegetables including collard greens, spinach, and kale are also rich in beta-carotene.

Lutein, best known for its association with healthy eyes, is abundant in green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale.

Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, blood oranges, and other foods. Estimates suggest 85 percent of American dietary intake of lycopene comes from tomatoes and tomato products.

Selenium is a mineral, not an antioxidant nutrient. However, it is a component of antioxidant enzymes. Plant foods like rice and wheat are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries. The amount of selenium in soil, which varies by region, determines the amount of selenium in the foods grown in that soil. Animals that eat grains or plants grown in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium in their muscle. In the United States, meats and bread are common sources of dietary selenium. Brazil nuts also contain large quantities of selenium.

Antioxidants are in Vitamins too! Supplement your diet!

Vitamin A is found in three main forms: retinol (Vitamin A1), 3,4-didehydroretinol (Vitamin A2), and 3-hydroxy-retinol (Vitamin A3). Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, egg yolks and mozzarella cheese.

Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid, and can be found in high abundance in many fruits and vegetables and is also found in cereals, beef, poultry and fish.

Vitamin E, also known as alpha-tocopherol, is found in almonds, in many oils including wheat germ, safflower, corn and soybean oils, and also found in mangos, nuts, broccoli and other foods.

Like any other food, we cannot overdo, or overeat what we think is healthy. Take the moderate path! It is advisible to eat all natural fruits and vegetables, and at the same time take a few supplements to ensure our body gets the essential antioxidants it needs to maintain optimum health levels! Live life to the fullest today!

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Free Radicals: Destructive Scavengers and the Vital Role Antioxidants Play

April 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Antioxidants

Several years ago, it was all over the news. Free radicals were damaging – we all had them, and antioxidants were the solution. But what role really do free radicals play in damaging the body, and how are we supposed to best get rid of them? How do antioxidants work and what is the best way of adding them to our diet?

24 hours a day, while the body is constantly working, cells are metabolizing and creating energy as they carry out their tasks. This natural process results in free radicals, the same way driving to work in your car creates exhaust fumes. Some free radicals are natural byproducts of the ongoing workings of the body. Some are from environmental factors, such as pollution, radiation, and cigarette smoke.

A free radical is simply a molecule that is missing an electron. As soon as a molecule loses one of its attached electrons, it becomes unstable and seeks to re-stabilize itself by stealing an electron from the nearest molecule. This causes the attacked molecule to then become a free radical, and starts a chain reaction. Ultimately as the process continues this can lead to cell damage.

Free radicals become extremely damaging to the body as they steal electrons from your cells. They begin to spread like a wildfire through the years if your body does not have enough antioxidants to keep them in check. They can attack cell walls, get inside the cell, and cause damage to the DNA. This leads to cancer. Cancer is defined as a degenerative stress condition, and we can understand this better when we understand the role free radicals play.

The brain is the most active part of the body. It uses the most energy, and therefore is subject to bombardment with the most free radicals. The significance of this is not only that we feel negative effects in our mind – such as feeling tired and muddled – but also because brain is very important in its control of so many of the vital workings of our bodies.

When a free radical attacks, it can get into the cell and cause the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, to die or cease to function fully. This can disrupt one of a multitude of processes. A dead or poorly functioning mitochondria in a cell can disrupt or slow down neuronal firing. Mental illness is largely due to imbalances in the neuronal processes of our natural brain chemistry. A poorly working or dead mitochondria can prevent certain natural functions from working, causing symptoms like hormonal imbalance.

Untreated, the damage from free radicals accumulates with age. They are the cause of many degenerative diseases, and are associated with many of the signs of the aging process.

Antioxidants are molecules loaded with extra free electrons. When we have enough antioxidants the free radicals get their electrons from the antioxidants in our body, rather than stealing them from our cells.

The body is naturally built to handle free radicals. Antioxidants are found in the vitamins A, C and E in the fruits and vegetables we eat. However even eating the 5-8 recommended servings a day, or using supplements still often does not do enough to combat the massive free radical damage.

Antioxidants from Vitamins E, C, and A actually pale in comparison to the phytonutrient antioxidants such as those found in red wine and blueberries. This is the reason for the French paradox, why it is being recommended to drink wine, eat chocolate, and drink green tea. They provide better sources of antioxidants.

There is an even better source: the newly discovered acai berry, of the Brazilian rainforest. It provides antioxidants in strengths 33 times more powerful than red wine. It floods the body with massive amounts of antioxidants and other essential nutrients. The acai berry is the number one ingredient for anti-aging recommended by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, in his book the Perricone Promise.

The acai berry can be best added to the diet in liquid form. A small dose of several ounces daily will flood the body with the vital antioxidants it needs. The acai berry is the best way to add to your diet the most powerful antioxidants combating free radical damage.

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