Antioxidants in Your Diet


Free radicals, oxidation, antioxidants… These may be too technical for you but you may want to give them further thought since they concern your health.

First, what are free radicals? Let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember a particular discussion about elements and electrons back in high school. Are you still familiar with stable elements? A stable element is formed if the number of the electrons in the outer shell is completed. For this to happen, a lot of sharing takes place. Unfortunately there are times when elements do not reach stability which leads to free radicals. Free radicals take electrons from other elements in order to become stable. Once they managed to steal the required number of electrons and become stable, another free radical is formed and before you know it, it signals the start of a chain reaction. This chain reaction is referred to as oxidation.

You may be waiting for the part where we discuss free radicals in relation to health. Here it is. Oxidation is vital for us to exist but the deal with free radicals, especially if they are excessive, is that they weaken the immune system. Outside factors like radiation, cigarette smoke, and pollution makes matters worse. These things cause an increase of free radicals in the body and it can lead to serious consequences such as vision loss, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.

This is where antioxidants come to the picture. Antioxidants balance things out. That is as simple as it gets. Antioxidants donate electrons to bring an end to all the stealing which means lesser free radicals. With antioxidants, you need not worry about damaging your body cells.

Given these facts, you should not be surprised if you hear about antioxidant-rich diets. Having antioxidants in your diet program can go a long way in preventing cell damage, strengthening the immune system, and slowing down the aging process.

So what should be included in an antioxidant-rich diet? Saying antioxidants are everywhere is true but vague. To be more specific, antioxidants are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Although eating them fresh is better, you can have fun and get your dose of antioxidants through fruit juices and vegetable salads. Also, there are many fruits and vegetables to choose from. Do not stick to apples and cabbages. You can always try grapes, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, cherries, green pears, carrots, russet potatoes, pinto beans, and artichokes. However, before you stock your pantry with fruits, remember that too much can not be good. Fruits contain sugar. Indulging in sweet fruits can be detrimental to your blood sugar, not to mention your teeth.

Some nuts and spices are good sources of antioxidants as well. To name a few, you can indulge in walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cinnamon, ground cloves, and oregano. Other antioxidant-rich foods are poultry, fish, whole grains, and dairy products. Essentially, any food which has Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E contains a high level of antioxidants.

In case you are not a fan of fruits and vegetables, you can still get your supply of antioxidants in a bottle. There are antioxidant supplements out in the market. There are even some which are recommended for kids. Seeing that nearly all children develop an aversion to veggies at one point in their lives, you may want to take a trip to your local drugstore and shop for antioxidant supplements.

If you are having doubts whether or not to buy antioxidants supplements, you can include antioxidants in your diet by giving in to your cravings. By cravings, we mean chocolates. Yes. That’s right. Chocolates are not only sinfully delicious. They are also rich in antioxidants. This puts a whole new spin on “having your cake and eating it too.”

Coffee and tea have high levels of antioxidants too. Coffee drinkers should be happy to find out there is something good about their addiction. When it comes to teas, green teas work best.

In order to get maximum results, pick out the right combination of antioxidants for your diet. Eat whole grains for breakfast. Have a vegetable salad for dinner. Eat fruits for snacks. Judging from the number of foods which contain antioxidants, including them in your daily diet should not be a problem.

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