by Dr. Suzanne Bober

The term ‘antioxidant’ seems to be everywhere these days, from the front of juice cartons to make-up containers. What is it about antioxidants that everyone is so excited about?

Essentially, as our bodies carry about their daily functions they produce massive amounts of debris called ‘free radicals.’ This debris is in the form of unstable molecules that can cause damage to the body’s cells. These molecules are produced during the breakdown of food, for example, and also from environmental exposure to things like radiation and cigarette smoke.

Antioxidants act by protecting the body’s cells from free radical damage, or what is also known as oxidative stress. This is the primary cause of degenerative diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Because antioxidants work in every cell, in every part of the body, they respond to just about all health issues.

Antioxidants play an important role in boosting immunity, such as warding off the flu and common cold. They also aid in improving digestion, lowering blood pressure, and improving circulation.

Marketing of skin creams and make-up today centers around antioxidants and their anti-aging effects.  Indeed, they do promote younger looking skin and are responsible for the youthful glow that seems to be sought after all over the world. Other benefits to women include relief from menstrual cramps, improved sleep quality, as well as improved energy. They also help to increase concentration and improve memory.

So how do I get antioxidants to start working for me?

I incorporate vitamins C and E into my diet by eating loads of berries and nuts, as well as avocados. I drink green tea, as it contains flavinoids and eat baked fish at least twice per week, as it contains selenium, both of which are antioxidants. I also make sure to eat fresh tomato sauce with whole-wheat pasta as it increases my carotenoid intake, another powerful antioxidant.

If I find that my diet is lacking antioxidants at any point in time, I will add supplements to my diet to make up for the deficiency. Speak to your health care provider about supplementation if you are unsure whether or not you are receiving adequate antioxidants through diet alone and start feeling the benefits of antioxidants today.


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