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The Power of Antioxidants for Staying Healthy

What if it is truly possible to grow old gracefully?   The way to maintain your healthful glow and to make peace with age can be found in the types of foods that we eat and the miracle ingredients they contain.

This hidden miracle is called antioxidants.  They have graced the pages of magazines, medical journals and every product from hand creams to supplement pills.  But what are antioxidants and what can they do to keep us looking our 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 we must ingest them.  A variety of foods contain antioxidants.

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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 our 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 of antioxidants.

Examples of antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Beta-carotene

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. Read more about top 10 High Antioxidant Foods @ Dr. Josh Axe

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.

Eating the right foods may help increase the quality of your life

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