Antioxidants - the Secret Ingredient for Your Health - Rivertea Blog
Monica Munteanu | On 01, Aug 2013
We’ve been talking a whole lot about teas and plants that contain antioxidants and how beneficial they are for your health. It seems these substances are the body’s super heros and having a diet that is abundant in antioxidants is a must.
However, it is important that you know the facts and have the right foods in your day to day diet so as to get exactly what your body needs. That is why we’ve prepared a short guide into the antioxidant world. Learn all about what they are and where to find them!
Antioxidants – the basics
Antioxidants are substances that fight and neutralize antagonistic cells, also known as “free radicals.” They are nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, as well as enzymes and are thought to play a part in fighting off the evolution of varied chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and cataract.
Free radicals, on the other hand, are chemically active atoms or molecular fragments that have a charge because of an excessive or deficient number of electrons. Due to this fact, they are unstable and go about the body in order to get or bind electrons, thus damaging cells, proteins and DNA. These free radicals may develop from within or outside your body , making it impossible for you to dodge the damage they cause by yourself.
This is where antioxidants come in and take control. By blocking the process of oxidation, they neutralize the free radicals, but in turn end up being oxidized. That is why you need to constantly recharge the antioxidants supply in your body. The efficiency depends mostly on which free radical is involved, so it may or may not work positively on your health.
Antioxidants A to Z
There are several main antioxidants that you should know about, each one with different characteristics and special powers. We have prepared a short need-to-know description on all of them. Keep reading and see why your body needs them.
Vitamin A – improves immunity, lowers cholesterol and repairs old tissue. It is also a beauty treatment as it softens your skin, strenghtens your teeth and delays ageing. Vitamin A is known to improve eye health. You can find it in foods like liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, lettuce, dried apricots, cantaloupe and paprika.
Vitamin C – is powerful in protecting skin from UV damange. In addition, it aids the body in fighting off infection and absorbing iron more intensively from foods. This antioxidant controls your blood cholesterol and maintains healthy collagen. You can get it from red and green chilli peppers, bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, oranges, kiwi and strawberries.
Vitamin E – is your skin’s best friend, for it improves any conditions you may have and fades out scars. It also protects the body’s membrane and works on keeping your blood vessels healthy. Vitamin E lives in foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried apricots, cookes spinach, basil and oregano.
Selenium – reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer and promotes normal liver functions. It keeps your hair, skin and eyes healthy and boosts your energy. Complete your diet with sunflower seeds, fish, poultry, mushrooms, eggs and onions.
Magnesium – is mostly known for the fact that it aids your organism in the absorbtion of calcium. Also it works on giving you a healthier bone structure. Magnesium can be ingested from the following foods: fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, whole grains, bananas and dark chocolate.
Chronium – can act as an anti-depressent and it’s great for boosting your immune system. It maintains normal blood sugar and cholesterol levels and is a key component in protecting the DNA and RNA. Chronium can be found in almost anything, but it has higher concentration in foods like tomatoes, onions, oysters, whole grains and potatoes.
Zinc – improves stress levels and strenghtens your immunes system. It can shorten the duration of a cold, so make sure you have it handy when you are sick. Zinc can be found in roast beef, dried watermelon seeds, dark chocolate, lamb, peanuts and crab.
Lutein – is also known as the ‘eye-vitamin’ for it aids in the prevention of diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. It is also known to help diminish the risks of colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Try foods rich in lutein include broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice, zucchini, and squash.
Lycopene – is a powerful antioxidant that protects against degenerative disease, prevents DNA damage and helps cells funtion better. High levels of lycopene are linked to reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. It can be found in a multitude of fruits and vegetables, most commonly tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelons and papayas.
Beta-carotene – is used to decrease asthma symptoms caused by exercise, as well as to prevent certain cancers, heart disease, cataract and age macular degeneration. It has also proven effective in treating depression, headaches and high blood pressure. Beta-carotene can be found in orange colored foods such as squash, pumpkins, carrots, apricots and mangos.
Adding antioxidant-rich foods to your diet will certainly strenghten your ability to fight off diseases and improve your health overall, so make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables to cover all the necessary substances we’ve just talked about. Stay healthy and informed!
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