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