We keep hearing about how terrific antioxidants are for us, but what exactly do they do? Antioxidants sound like they can do miracles for our health – but to most of us they’re still a mystery.
Antioxidants benefit your health by cleaning free radicals out of your bloodstream. Free radicals are electrically-charged molecules of oxygen that accumulate in our blood as we age through a process called “oxidation”. Don’t worry, oxidation is a natural process – and nature provides abundant ways of filtering them out through our diet! Antioxidants are found in everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to whole grains, nuts, chocolate and teas.
So if it’s natural to have free radicals in our blood stream, what’s the big deal? The problems come from too many free radicals accumulating too quickly, and sticking around far too long. Free radicals can damage other cells by attacking healthy ones, and over time have the potential to cause damage to your cellular DNA. This damage is linked to a wide range of diseases, including Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Autoimmune diseases, Cataracts, Macular degeneration and more. Our bodies have natural defenses against free radicals, but those defenses weaken as we age, making us more susceptible to cellular damage over time – which is why many health experts believe a diet rich in antioxidants is key to fighting age-related diseases.
To add to the mystery, there’s not just one type of antioxidant; there are many kinds, some of which you’ve probably already heard about – such as the beta carotene in carrots. Antioxidants have a wide range of health benefits, and different antioxidants benefit different parts of our bodies. For example, beta carotene benefits eye health, while flavonoids benefit cardiovascular health, quercetin benefits memory, and proanthocyanidins (try saying that five times fast!) benefit the urinary tract, among other things. Some studies have even shown that a combination of antioxidants can protect your skin from sun damage. For more information about foods that can help stave off Dementia and Alzheimer’s, try this article on the Five Best Foods for your Brain.
Antioxidants have not been proven to treat any medical conditions, however research implicates that antioxidants may be key in the prevention of a number of degenerative, age-related diseases.
So what are you waiting for? Dig into that fruit salad, enjoy your whole-grain pasta, and reach for the dark chocolate that’s been calling to you! (within moderation, of course). See this handy infographic for some of the health benefits of these 12 delicious, antioxidant-rich foods.
Did you know that drinking water in the morning can boost your metabolism and help fight infection? For more health information or useful tips, visit our Resources blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.
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