Scoop on antioxidant

Mar 18, 2011
Many of you have heard about antioxidants because it has gained popularity in recent years, antioxidants are marketed in many products anywhere from a shampoo to juice boxes. But what is it really? and do we need antioxidants?
        In simple terms, antioxidants are dietary substances that prevent damage to our cells and repair damage that has been done through a process called oxidation. Oxidation produces free radicals and that causes damages to our cells in day to day basis for example from environment pollutants, smoking, exercise or simply when we our body breaks down food for energy. Therefore, antioxidants come into play because it works by slowing or preventing the cell damage. Some examples of antioxidants are: Vitamin C , beta carotene, Vitamin E, Selenium. In our body, the antioxidant process is similar to stopping an apple from browning. Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown but if you dip it in orange juice (Vitamin C), it remains white.
        Many studies have shown that antioxidants have a major implication on disease prevention. Studies have shown some benefits in cancer prevention, protecting immune system, and cardiovascular disease and so on.  One of the dilemma is deciding what is the best way to get these antioxidants. Hundreds of new dietary supplements hit the market with attractive health claims, but how potent and accurate are they? As dietary supplements are not regulated by FDA, we all need to be extra careful before popping those pills. Balanced Diet is the best way to boost your antioxidants because it contains wide array of rich nutrients high in antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans are not only rich sources of antioxidants but good source of fiber. Again remember, there is no single food that contains all the necessary nutrients that is why we need variety and balanced diet. Here are some tips on how to make antioxidants part of your  life..
  • Grains: Make 1/2 of your daily intake of grains such as pasta, tortilla, bread from whole grains. 
  • Fruits: Fruits such as banana or apple are relative cheap, has longer shelf life and are perfect when your are in hurry. Berries are among the top sources of antioxidants;  berries go very well when added to ice cream, yogurt or waffle.
For easy recipe
  • Beans: Beans are so versatile, it is one of the cheapest source of protein, rich in many nutrients and high in fiber. Beans are great in salads and stews.
  • Vegetables: I can't stress how important vegetables are for you. If you do not like vegetables in general, be little experimental and try with dips, incorporate vegetables in pizza, meatloaf, or even smoothies.
  • Beverages: Green tea, coffee, red wine and pomegranate juice are some of my fav drinks which are also high in antioxidants..
  • Nuts and herbs: Both these foods are great suppliers of antioxidants. Try to more of herbs/spices in cooking instead of table salt.
For Spice 101:
  • And of course dessert:  Nothing can beat a meal that ends with a piece of rich, dark chocolate. But remember, they are also higher in calories.
Try to make these food as a part of your daily life because besides antioxidants, they provide added benefits of high fiber, low cholesterol, and good source protein which will help with weight management, cardiovascular protection and keep you healthy in general..