Our bodies require oxygen to function properly; however, when our cells use this all important oxygen, the resulting by-products, which we commonly call free radicals, can actually have a damaging effect on cells. This oxidative damage has been linked to everything from wrinkles to cancer, as well as heart disease, diabetes, macular degeneration and a variety of chronic ailments.
Aside from the free radicals our bodies produce through the use of oxygen, these harmful oxidants can also be introduced through eating processed junk foods, drinking alcohol, smoking or exposure to pollution, pesticides and even sunlight. Stress is yet another culprit contributing to having an abundance of free radicals in your body, and the increased oxygen taken in during strenuous exercise doesn’t help either. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should not exercise, since regular, moderate exercise is vital to your overall health and well-being. But, if you partake in strenuous exercise on a regular basis, you might want to consider increasing your antioxidant intake, just as anyone should who smokes, drinks, eats foods that were not organically grown, experiences stress or spends time outdoors in the sun.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are minerals, vitamins and enzymes that assist in the neutralization of free radicals, thus limiting the damage to your body’s cells. The damage caused by free radicals is the result of a chain reaction. Antioxidants disrupt this chain reaction, thwarting at least part of the free radical activity that plays a part in the development of health conditions and the physical signs of aging.
How to Increase Antioxidant Levels
While your body does produce some antioxidants, the amount is generally not enough to combat the onslaught of free radicals introduced through modern lifestyles. Therefore, it is necessary to eat an antioxidant-rich diet or take supplements to protect your cells and combat the effects of free radicals.
Antioxidant-rich foods include:
• Red grapes
• Nuts • Seeds
• Dark, leafy greens
• Fortified grain products
• Whole grains
• Dairy products
• Green tea
If you are afraid you might not be getting enough antioxidants from your diet, you can also take a supplement that contains some of these healthful vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. While some people take individual supplements for some well-known antioxidants, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, beta-carotene and selenium, it is generally recommended that people supplement a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables with a multivitamin containing both vitamins and minerals. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of increased antioxidant intake without the concern of getting too much of particular vitamins, such vitamin E and A.
Try the RV LIFE Pro Bundle FREE for 7 days