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Essential benefits of antioxidants

Why we need to take antioxidants

Antioxidants are a very important ingredient needed to help our bodies ward off the free radicals that invade and try to take over in our bodies. They will help prevent cancers and other immune related diseases that invade and try to take up residence in our bodies.

With every breath you take you generate free radicals- the uncontrolled oxidants that damage you cells. The older you get the less natural antioxidants your body produces to keep these destructive molecules in check. As they accumulate, health deteriorates and aging accelerates— leaving you more susceptible to everything from wrinkles to serious degenerative diseases.
Though we get antioxidants from food, many people have increased antioxidant needs that diet alone cannot meet.

Smokers, for instance, need two to three times as much vitamin C to achieve the same antioxidant blood levels as nonsmokers. Other factors that can increase free radicals are: air pollution, chronic disease, secondhand smoke, dietary carcinogens (foods fried at high temperatures or charcoal-broiled, nitrites, and cured meats), inherited susceptibility to a disease, infection, vigorous exercise, menopause, mental stress, sun exposure, and X rays. Additionally, it’s not always what foods you eat but how the food is prepared. For example, cooked carrots supply more bioavailable beta-carotene than raw ones.

What antioxidants can do

• Retard the aging process.
• Lower cholesterol levels.
• Decrease risk of atherosclerosis.
• Help protect against heart disease and stroke.
• Reduce the risk of all types of cancer.
• Help to slow down progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
• Aid in suppressing the growth of tumors.
• Help the body detoxify carcinogens.
• Protect eyes from macular degeneration, a disease that causes vision loss.
• Aid in defending the body against damage from cigarette smoking.
• Help protect against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CPOD)—such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
• Offer protection against environmental pollution.

Antioxidant supplements

There are two ways to make sure that you get your intake of antioxidants. One is to include foods rich in antioxidants in your everyday diet. Another is to take an antioxidant supplement.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It also protects us from common cold. Vitamin C is the only water soluble vitamin, so it is nearly impossible to overdose on it. 500 mg daily is considered an optimum dose.
Vitamin A, beta carotene and Vitamin E are also strong antioxidants. Many foods contain these vitamins, and they also come in a supplement form.

If you make antioxidant rich foods part of your daily diet, this can help you to prevent early aging and diseases like cancer. Eat many fruits, vegetables and beans which are the foods with the highest antioxidant content. Prefer fresh foods over processed ones to get the maximum health benefit, and if you do have to process foods, choose a method that retains as many nutrients as possible, and cook foods as short as possible.

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