Antioxidants are protective substances that neutralize free radicals within your body. A free radical is a by-product of an oxidative chemical reaction. Antioxidants target free radicals such as free oxygen, which have a highly reactive unpaired valance electron. These damaging free radicals will denature anything they may come in contact with and are linked to chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are accumulated from the process of digestion, environmental exposure, and exercise!
Processed foods and manufactured goods contain harmful substances that often go unnoticed when consumed. Processed foods are often stripped of their antioxidant nutrients and filled with preservatives. You digestive system then transports chemically altered foods into your blood, which circulates to all your tissues. In every day life we are exposed to pollution and manufactured goods made with toxic chemicals that also contribute to your body’s free radical levels.
If you do large volumes of exercise, especially aerobic exercise, it is important to make sure you are cleansing your system regularly. The oxidative reactions used to produce energy (ATP) from carbohydrates, and fats during exercise produces free radicals and the more energy you produce your body creates the greater need for antioxidants.
Some major antioxidants are Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, C, and E, Lutein, Lycopene, zinc, and selenium. Antioxidant rich foods are often colorful, just greens are not enough to make a big difference. Food variety is important because there are different antioxidants that help in different ways. Even with the incredible absorptive ability of your digestive tract not everything you eat makes it into your system. Make sure to eat a variety of colorful foods and eat them as frequently as possible. Make sure to include these foods in your diet to increase your antioxidant levels.
How many of these antioxidant rich foods do you eat regularly?