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Christine Dreher, Nutritionist, Herbalist, & author of "The Cleanse Cookbook" founder of TransformyourHealth.com
Christine Dreher, Nutritionist, Herbalist, and author of
 "The Cleanse Cookbook"

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The Power of Antioxidants
By Jordan Rubin: Extra Ordinary Health & Garden of Life

 

We hear a lot about the health benefits of antioxidants in the news and in recent health studies. What are the different types of antioxidants? How do we get enough of them in our foods? And how do we increase our body’s ability to defend against free radicals by eating a diet high in antioxidants—foods high on the ORAC scale?

Did you know that some protective effects of foods high in vitamins are contained in those foods’ antioxidant properties? And while that may be interesting news, some of you may be asking what antioxidants are—let alone what they do.

Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules capable of damaging cells and tissue and antioxidants fight against free radicals continually--since free radicals are continually formed in the body.

Free radicals are increased by injury, stress, pollution, and illness and since their discovery; they have been implicated as major players in ill health--as well as accelerating the aging process. But here’s the bottom line: the more free radicals are formed, the more antioxidants are needed to neutralize them.
In the fight against free radicals, many people want to know more about antioxidants and their health benefits. Some sports enthusiasts are interested in antioxidants because of their tendency to overexert while training—which can increase free radicals. And did you know that as we age, we require more antioxidants? Living in polluted environments increases the need for antioxidants as well. You may not know that beta-carotene and selenium (in addition to vitamins C and E) are examples of powerful antioxidants. And since no single antioxidant can destroy all the free radicals in the body, using them in combination increases their effectiveness.

Speaking of effectiveness, did you know that there have been values assigned to foods that are most effective in fighting free radicals? It’s true and it’s called ORAC. ORAC values refer to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of a food, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and tests the ability of foods and other compounds to subdue oxygen free radicals.

Here’s the good news: You can increase your body’s ability to defend against free radicals by eating a diet high in antioxidants—foods high on the ORAC scale.

A Healthy Diet High in Antioxidants

Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the main micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Additionally, selenium, a trace metal that is required for proper function of one of the body's antioxidant enzyme systems, is sometimes included in this category.

The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in the diet—and good sources include vegetables, fruits, and certain types of tea. Here are some vital antioxidants and their food sources, to ensure adequate intake in the diet.

Vitamin A: A study by the University of Arizona found that vitamin A has many protective effects. Vitamin A (retinol) helps bone and teeth development and promotes good vision. As an antioxidant, it protects cell membranes and fatty tissue, helps repair damage caused by air pollutants, and supports the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, eggs, and some dairy products.

Carotenoids: This class of antioxidants includes beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Research indicates that carotenoids lower the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and help to strengthen the immune system. They are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, kale, spinach, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit. Some of the carotenoids like beta-carotene are also precursors to vitamin A. Food sources include kale, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomatoes cantaloupe, peaches, and apricots.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which supports the immune system and the cardiovascular system. Good sources include citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant by itself, but is magnified when it is ingested with other antioxidants such as vitamin C, selenium, and beta carotene. Good sources include nuts, seeds, fish oils, whole grains, and apricots.

Bioflavonoids: Bioflavonoids are a group of about 5,000 compounds that act as antioxidants. (A flavonoid is a pigment in plants and fruits that acts as an antioxidant to protect against damage from free radicals.) In the body, flavonoids enhance the beneficial activities of vitamin C and can help support a healthy immune system. They occur primarily in vegetables and fruits (like apples) as well as green or black tea—and even dark chocolate.

Vitamin Code Raw Antioxidants Whole Food Vitamin Formula by Garden of Life         

Garden of Life offers three whole food antioxidant formulas to ensure you are getting enough antioxidants including:

Vitamin Code Raw Antioxidants Whole Food Vitamin Formula - Free radicals – if they’re free why do we want to get rid of them? Free radicals are unstable, destructive molecules that can cause cellular oxidation. The body is subjected to free radicals every day through normal processes that take place within the body, as well as, exposure to pollutants. Due to their determination to disrupt cell life in your body, free radicals may weaken the immune system. Antioxidants are necessary to ward off and help inhibit oxidative stress in the body. Click here for product information.

Perfect Food Alkalizer & Detoxifier by Garden of life is the perfect RAW organic green super food complement to support your body’s daily balancing act; supporting your body’s own ability to maintain its ideal pH balance and promoting healthy elimination of toxins. Perfect Food Alkalizer & Detoxifier is specially designed for those who appreciate the benefits of green juices but are seeking additional supporting ingredients for healthy pH balance and daily detoxification. Click here for product information.

Perfect Food Berry Super Green Fruit & Veggie Powder Formula is made with 50 nutrient rich, certified organic or organically grown, whole food ingredients. It is an excellent source of natural antioxidants including vitamins A and C. It provides an ORAC value of 2,000 TE per serving. Perfect Food Berry is made with one billion live probiotic cells to support digestive health. Click here for product information.

Read the Article:
Summertime Health Tips

Read the article:
Technology Can Zap the Brain (& Body)
by ExtraOrdinary Health Writers

Read the article:
Memory Loss & Neurological Support
By Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH

Read the Article:
 “Finding Your Better Brain”

 by Healthy Living Experts”.

 

Note: The content provided in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. You are encouraged to consult with your medical health care provider regarding any health concern or health-related condition you may have.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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