Amazing Antioxidants and Their Sources

antioxidantsAny discussion involving “superfoods” always leads to antioxidants, but what are they, and where do I get mine? Antioxidants are the superheroes of your cells, they seek out and destroy free radicals which are responsible for oxidation, the destruction of DNA, cell proteins and cell membranes. This oxidation is responsible for premature aging skin, and many of the degenerative diseases that plague us, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cataracts and even cancer.

Free radicals are born when a molecule within your body’s cells loses one of its electrons. Now an evil-free radical, it searches for an unsuspecting healthy molecule and tries to “steal” an electron. If successful, the loss of the electron causes cell damage called oxidative damage. It gets worse, the healthy molecule now missing an electron becomes another free radical and goes searching for another electron to steal.

Left unchecked, soon a horde of free radicals are out stealing electrons and starting a chain reaction as more and more cells become oxidized and damaged literally changing the landscape. Too many free radicals and too much oxidative stress cause cells to prematurely age and become completely dysfunctional. The resulting tissue damage and secondary cellular mutation that result from too many free radicals are directly linked to cancer, heart disease, premature aging and Alzheimer’s.

Enter the antioxidants. Antioxidants act as scavengers and literally “eat” the free radicals thus preventing damage. The more antioxidants available, the more free radicals destroyed and damage prevented. Antioxidants are phytochemicals that occur naturally in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

If you would like to prevent premature aging and prevent or delay degenerative disease, eat a variety of foods that are rich sources of antioxidants!

“Superfoods” known to be rich sources of healthy antioxidants include:

  • Acai Berries for high levels of anthocyanins.
  • Goji Berries contain beta-carotene and zeaxanthin.
  • Raw Cacao contains resveratrol, and the polyphenols catechin and epicatechin.
  • Coconut and coconut oil magnesium, potassium, sodium, manganese, and calcium.
  • Turmeric for its active ingredient curcumin.
  • Maca Root provides iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iodine.
  • Green Teas, especially Japanese Matcha Tea.
  • Wheat Grass for chlorophyll which draws toxins out of the body.

There are also “normal” food sources of antioxidants, less exotic but readily available at your local grocery store. Examples include:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables like kale
  • Blueberries, raspberries and cranberries
  • Sprouts
  • Red beans and kidney beans
  • Tomatoes and watermelon
  • Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and almonds
  • Thyme and oregano
  • Oranges and pink grapefruit
  • Avocados and seeds like flax, sunflower and chia

To increase available antioxidants, incorporate these foods into your daily diet.

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