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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Beginner's Guide to Antioxidants

What are some well-known Antioxidants?
Vitamin A - found in carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collard greens, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots.
Vitamin C - found in oranges, lines, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes.
Vitamin E - found in nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and vegetable oil.
Selenium - found in fish and shellfish, red meat, grains, legumes, eggs, chicken and garlic.
Some antioxidants are naturally occurring plant chemicals (phytochemicals):
Flavonoids/polyphenols - found in soy, purple grapes, pomegranates, cranberries and tea.
Lycopene - found in tomato and tomato products, pink grapefruit and watermelon.
Lutein - found in kale, broccoli, kiwi, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
Lignan - found in flax seed, oatmeal, barley and rye.
As you can see antioxidants are in lots of healthy foods, particularly grains and fruits and vegetables. While it's best to get as many as possible from whole foods, a good antioxidant supplement can do the job, provided the ingredients are made from real whole foods.
Why Do We Need Antioxidants?
Our bodies are constantly protecting us from infection and diseases. Additionally, normal functions such as breathing and physical activity cause our cells to produce substances called free radicals. Free radicals are destructive chemicals, which, if left uncontrolled, can cause damage to the body's cells - similar to the reaction that causes rust on a bicycle or turns the surface of a cut apple brown.
When healthy cells are weakened, we are more susceptible to infection and ill-health. Antioxidants help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals and are vital to a healthy body.
Where do we get Antioxidants?
Many foods are good sources of antioxidants. The antioxidant minerals, selenium and manganese, are found in small quantities in meats and seafood, but the primary food source of all antioxidants is plant foods.
According to the FDA, the best way to get adequate amounts of antioxidants is to eat between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. As this is not always practical for people, natural whole food supplements are a great way to get the required antioxidant intake you need.
According to, adding antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables or natural supplements to your daily diet will strengthen your ability to fight infection and disease. To prevent the "biological rust" that the stress of life can wreak on your cells, help them help themselves, by choosing your foods wisely.
Christopher Drummond is the Editor of a Natural Health Website and lives in Cape Town, South Africa on a small holding which has its own organic fruits and vegetables, mountain water and solar power. For more simple, natural ways to live a healthy life, visit:

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