Since the 1990s, antioxidants have garnered much attention from scientists on their effects on the human body. Today, they seem to be the nutrition “buzzword;” everywhere we look, antioxidants are gaining attention on the cover of health and fitness magazines, medical television shows, and news articles, all enticing you to get your antioxidant fix. Blueberries, red and purple grapes, blackberries, and dark-green leafy vegetables are just a few of the foods that are high in antioxidants.
What are antioxidants and why should you consume them?
By definition, an antioxidant is a food or other substance that inhibits oxidation. Oxidation is similar to cutting into an apple and letting it sit on the counter, or not preserving your food in an airtight container. It is the reaction that causes your apple to turn brown or your food to spoil.
The same thing happens in your body. Free radicals in the body can produce oxidation, causing a chain reaction leading to cell damage. An overload of free radicals can generate oxidative stress, which has been shown to play a role in aging and chronic and degenerative illness. These free radicals can also be produced from external sources, such as cigarette smoke and pollution. Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that prevent or delay these dangerous chain reactions. The best way to get more antioxidants in your body is by consuming a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Just like adding lemon juice to a sliced apple can prevent or delay the oxidation process, adding fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes high in antioxidants to your diet can prevent or delay the oxidation process in our cells.
How to recognize antioxidants on food labels.
Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important in vision, bone growth, and the immune system. It is commonly found in liver, whole milk, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squashes.
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid; it is a water-soluble vitamin that is needed for growth and repair of tissues in the body. It is also useful for healing wounds and forming scar tissue, repairing and maintaining bones, cartilage and teeth and in forming collagen in the skin. It is commonly found in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, and strawberries.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin important for immunity and metabolic processes. Food sources include nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish oils, whole grains, fortified cereals, apricots, and other foods.
Selenium is an essential trace element and has attracted much interest in recent years because of its role in supporting the body’s own protective antioxidant system. Foods that are a good source of selenium include seafood, cereals, and meat products.
Many of Genesis PURE’s products contain antioxidants.
Acai is an antioxidant powerhouse. In fact, it’s known as the “Beauty berry,” because antioxidants fight against aging and are commonly used in beauty products. Its deep purple color comes is high in anthocyanins, a powerful class of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants.
It is important to eat your carrots and fill up your plate with leafy greens, squash, berries, and an array of other colorful fruits and vegetables. A variety of color indicates a healthy variety of antioxidants and other nutrients. Do what you can now to prevent or delay health conditions in the future.