The human body is always under attack. Viruses, UV light, bacteria and even free radicals are constantly trying to invade or destroy normal cell function. Free radicals are one of the most talked-about threats at this time. These invaders are actually a byproduct of normal cell function.
As a cell creates energy, it passes waste products out of the body. These waste products are in the form of unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. These molecules also come from sources outside of the body like air pollution or smoking. To protect your body from these free radicals, a diet high in antioxidants is recommended.
Antioxidants are specialized enzymes and molecules that have a spare electron that can be used to neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants are found in many foods and are generally easy to add to a daily diet plan.
Some of the most common antioxidants are vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene. We have always heard that vitamins help to create a strong and healthy body, but now researchers are studying how specific antioxidants can possibly slow or stop the aging process.
Many of the foods that contain antioxidants are in the fruit and vegetable category of the Food Guide Pyramid.
The best way to include antioxidants in your diet is by making sure the majority of your diet is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Among the healthiest of these fruits are berries.
Blueberries and strawberries are highly nutritious and contain large amounts of the vitamins and flavenoids that are thought to improve brain function and slow cellular aging. Adding berries to a daily diet is one possible way to reverse the effect of free radicals in the human body.
Other foods that are rich in antioxidants include leafy green vegetables and root vegetables. Carrots and beets are among the root vegetables that most helpful in combating the aging process.
Carrots contain vitamins that protect the eyes as well as skin cells. Beets are thought to increase the flow of blood to certain parts of the human brain. Increased blood flow promotes the healthy exchange of fresh oxygen for cellular waste products. Kale and mustard greens are among the leafy green vegetables required for proper nutrition. Kale provides large amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C with relatively few calories.
Some of the most powerful antioxidant foods might be surprising to many people. These foods include beans, nuts and many spices.
It is thought that the consumption of large quantities of these foods is what causes lower incidences of cancers and other age-related disease in certain cultures.
Beans and nuts provide protein and other essential nutrients without the addition of unhealthy fats. Lowering the intake of unhealthy fat and increasing fiber and protein intake is thought to lower the risk of certain cancers.
Although adding foods high in antioxidants will probably not turn back the clock for you, they can help you to lead a longer and healthier life.