Antioxidants

Antioxidants

Antioxidants combat free radicals and repair the damage that they cause.

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You have probably heard a lot about antioxidants lately.  If you haven’t, there are a few things that you should understand about antioxidants as a means to better  your health.
The world we live in is filled with toxins.  These toxins are everywhere.  Eventually, these toxins cause free radicals to enter our bodies.  Free radicals damage cells and can lead to diseases like heart disease and cancer.  Antioxidants combat free radicals and repair the damage that they cause.
Antioxidants are obtained primarily through foods.  There are many different types of antioxidants.  Each is found in different foods and carries different benefits.

  •     Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red foods.
  •     Vitamin C is a common antioxidant found in citrus, papaya, pineapple and other foods.
  •     Beta carotene is an antioxidant found in carrots and goji berries.

There are many classes of antioxidants and each different antioxidant generally fits into a specific class.  Antioxidants are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, oils, nuts and sometimes even spices.  Research has shown that diets rich in antioxidants and whole grains and low in saturated fats lead to healthier lives.  This makes it very important to pay attention to the amount of antioxidants that we consume each day.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are generally higher in antioxidants that diets without fruits and vegetables.  Another great way to incorporate antioxidants into a healthy diet is to eat superfoods.  A superfood is a food that is high in antioxidants and other nutrients.

One example of a nutrient dense superfood is cacao.  Cacao is the name for the unprocessed plant pod that chocolate is created from. Cacao is very rich in antioxidants.  In fact, some studies indicate that cacao is 10% antioxidant by weight.  Cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea and even processed cocoa.  This makes raw cacao nibs an excellent source of daily antioxidants.
If you want to include more antioxidants in your life, there are a few great ways to start.   One way is to make an antioxidant rich trail mix.  Try mixing nuts with raw cacao and dried goji berries, mulberries and inca berries for a delicious and nutritious trail mix.  Another idea is to add antioxidant rich foods into baked goods.  You can add superfoods to almost any baked item with success.  There are simple ways to add more antioxidants to almost any food that you plan on eating.
Getting more antioxidants each day will lead to much benefit.  The antioxidants that you consume enable your body to fight off damage from free radicals.  This will protect your body and will lessen your chances of developing heart disease, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes and other ailments.

Fruits and vegetables aren’t the only way to get antioxidants.  Some antioxidants like selenium are commonly found in meat products.  Lignan is an antioxidant found in grains like rye and barley.  Some antioxidants are even made by the body itself.

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