Antioxidants for Optimal Health

Antioxidants are substances naturally found in food, that are known to protect our cells against damage that occurs naturally from every day living, from aging, and from the negative effects of free radicals. By eating a diet rich in antioxidants, we can boost our immune system, have optimal health and lower our risk of common chronic illnesses.

composition of vegetables - rainbow

How do antioxidants work?

  • Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules with an unpaired electron. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and damage our cells.
  • Antioxidants stop the chain reaction of oxidative stress by donating one of their electrons to the free radical to neutralize it.
  • The antioxidant does not become a free radical by giving away its electron

The best food sources for antioxidants are vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, green tea, beans and lentils, some meats, fish and poultry.  Great sources of antioxidants are colorful fruits and vegetables, especially the ones that are orange, yellow, purple, red, blue and green.

High quality cellular nutrition (supplements) are also a good source of antioxidants. There is some debate about whether or not a person is able to get enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from food alone. Some people choose to take high quality cellular nutrition to make sure they are getting what their body needs.

Seven antioxidants (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids) and a very short list of foods that contain each of them:

  1. Beta-Carotene (vitamin) can be found in carrots, beets, broccoli, apricots and watermelon.
  2. Vitamin C can be found in berries, kale, kiwi, snow peas and cauliflower.
  3. Vitamin E can be found in papaya, nuts, red pepper, spinach and sunflower seeds.
  4. Zinc (mineral) can be found in oysters, poultry, beans, nuts and seafood.
  5. Selenium (mineral) can be found in brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry.
  6. Quercetin (phytochemical) can be found in apples, onions, teas and red wines.
  7. Luteolin:  (flavonoid) can be found in celery and green peppers.

Other foods that contain antioxidants include:  plums, prunes, red grapes, raisins, alfalfa sprouts, and chia seeds.

Adding lots of colorful fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is the best way to boost your immunity, lower your risk for common chronic illnesses and ensure that your body will be able to neutralize free radicals.   So – think about colors of the rainbow when you are shopping and cooking.  Enjoy nature’s most colorful fruits and vegetables: orange, yellow, purple, red, blue and green.

Do you need more information about antioxidants?  Are you interested in learning which foods would suit YOU, to boost your immune system and help you achieve optimal health? Contact me – I can help!

Informational Resources:

Wikipedia.org – Antioxidants

EatrightOntario.ca – article about Antioxidants

Medlineplus – antioxidants

WebMD – Antioxidants- Your Immune System Superfoods for Optimal Health

Webmd.com – article on antioxidants & free radicals

 

Copyright © 2013 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved