Beta-carotene is one of the most powerful antioxidants

Vitamin A has several forms that are used for vital functions.
Provitamin A, betacarotene, performs antioxidant functions that none of the other forms of vitamin A can achieve. In addition to its vital antioxidant functions, beta-carotene can be split apart into retinal and converted to all other forms of preformed vitamin A.
vegetables-fruitsBeta-carotene is one of the most powerful antioxidants in food. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Some of the beta-carotene in foods and supplements can be converted into the retinal form of vitamin A.

About 10 percent of the carotenoids (beta-carotene is one of the carotenoids) in plant foods can be converted into retinal. The remaining carotenoids may be used as antioxidants.
The other forms of vitamin A do not exhibit antioxidant activity. The forms of vitamin A found in meat (retinyl esters), dairy products, and eggs do not possess antioxidant activity.

Vitamin A supplements made without beta-carotene or other sources of antioxidants also do not possess antioxidant activity. Many supplements are made with retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate; these forms of vitamin A are not antioxidants.
Beta-carotene is plentiful in yellow and orange vegetables and fruit. Green vegetables also are rich in beta-carotene; the colorful pigments are masked by the green chlorophyll. Some of the other carotenoids that can be converted into retinal include alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Some carotenoids that cannot be converted into retinal are lycopene (from tomatoes) and lutein. All carotenoids have antioxidant activity.

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Why You Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

The average person can get of recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals simply by eating a reasonable diet containing plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The RDAs assume you’re an adult under age 60 who’s in good health, has perfect digestion, isn’t overweight, leads a totally stress-free life, doesn’t ever have any sort of medical problem, and never needs to take any sort of medicine.
The RDA of vitamins and minerals also assume that you really manage to eat a good diet every day.
Buy in fact, even on a good day you can’t always manage a completely healthful diet.
Who has the time or energy to do all that shopping and food preparation? On any given day, half of us eat at least one meal away from home anyway. You just can’t always eat healthfully, even when you try.
The fact is, most of us don’t meet all the RDAs from our diet. According researches most adult women don’t meet the RDAs for iron, zinc, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E.
Most adult men don’t meet the RDA for zinc and magnesium. Hollywood Diet's Cookie Diet Assorted

Young children drink 16 percent less milk than they did in the late 1970s, but they drink 23 percent more carbonated soft drinks.
Americans eat very few dark-green leafy vegetables and deep yellow vegetables.
Fewer than one out of five people eats five fresh fruits and vegetables a day—and about one person in five doesn’t eat any.

If it’s that hard to meet the RDAs through diet, what about reaching the higher amounts of vitamins and minerals many health professionals now recommend? You could just try harder to eat better or differently. For example, women between the ages of 25 and 50 should get at least 1,000 mg of calcium every day to keep their bones strong.
That’s the calcium in three glasses of milk a day. You could easily drink that much milk, but would you? Do you even like milk? What if you hate the stuff or have trouble digesting it?
One of the biggest problems with the RDA of vitamins and minerals is that they assume you’re in good health and eat about 2,000 calories a day.
What if you don’t eat that much? Many people over age 70, for example, only take in about 1,500 calories a day. And in our weight-conscious society, at any given time one in six Americans are dieting—usually in a way that doesn’t provide good nutrition. There’s no way these people are getting the vitamins and minerals they need from their food.
We’d be the first to tell you that vitamin and mineral supplements aren’t a substitute for healthy eating.
They’re also not a magic shield against the effects of bad health habits, like smoking or not getting much exercise. But we know that you can’t always eat like you should—and that sometimes you need more of a vitamin or mineral than you can reasonably get just from your food.
That’s why vitamin and mineral supplements are so important. Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is sensible insurance—it makes sure you get everything you need. You may also need extra of one or more vitamins or minerals—more than you could get from your diet.

Generally speaking, vitamin and mineral supplements are safe even in large doses. More isn’t always better, though, and some supplements can be harmful in big doses.
Use your common sense. Read what we have to say about the vitamins and minerals, talk it over with your doctor, and then decide which supplements are best for you.

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What are Antioxidants

You need vitamins and minerals to make all those thousands of enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals your body needs to work right. But vitamins and minerals have another crucial role in your body.  They act as powerful antioxidants that capture free radicals in your body.Fruit Antioxidant Multiple Vitamin & Mineral Formula 15.9 oz: K

It’s only in the past few decades that we’ve begun to understand how damaging free radicals can be and how important it is to have plenty of antioxidants in your body to neutralize them.
When you drive your car, you burn gasoline by combining it with oxygen in the pistons of the engine.

Your car zips along on the released energy, but it also gives off exhaust fumes as a byproduct. Something very similar happens in the cells of your body. When oxygen combines with glucose in your cells, for example, you make energy—and you also make free radicals, your body’s version of exhaust fumes. Free radicals are oxygen atoms that are missing one electron from the pair the atom should have.

When an atom is missing an electron from a pair, it becomes unstable and very reactive. That’s because a free radical desperately wants to find another electron to fill in the gap, so it grabs an electron from the next atom it gets near. But when a free radical seizes an electron from another atom, the second atom then becomes a free radical, because now it’s the one missing an electron.

One free radical starts a cascade of new free radicals in your body. The free radicals blunder around, grabbing electrons from your cells—and doing a lot of damage to them at the same time.
Antioxidants are your body’s natural defense against free radicals. Antioxidants are enzymes that patrol your cells looking for free radicals. When they find one, they grab hold of it and neutralize it without being damaged themselves. The antioxidant enzymes stop the invasion and remove the free radical from circulation.
You have to have plenty of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium, in your body to make the antioxidant enzymes that do the neutralizing. If you’re short on the right vitamins and minerals, you can’t make enough of the antioxidant enzymes. That lets the free radicals get the upper hand and do extra damage to your cells before they get quenched.

Oxidation isn’t the only thing that can cause free radicals in your cells. The ultraviolet light in sunshine can do it—that’s why people who spend too much time in the sun are more likely to get skin cancer and cataracts. Toxins of all sorts—tobacco smoke, the natural chemicals found in our food, the poisonous wastes of your own metabolism, and man-made toxins like air pollution and pesticides—trigger free radicals as well.
On average, every cell in your body comes under attack from a free radical once every ten seconds. Your best protection is to keep your antioxidant levels high.

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