Antioxidants

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Many experts believe this damage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), cancer, and arthritis. Free radicals can also interfere with your immune system. So, fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections. (2)

The three major antioxidant vitamins are:

  • beta-carotene
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E

You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables – especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed; don’t overcook or boil. (2)

Important Points

Over-exercise can generate huge amounts of free radicals within the body. If exercise is increased, nutrient intake should also be increased. (3)

Over-the-counter stomach acid-blocking drugs can reduce the absorption of antioxidants. Switching to an herbal antacid like cool chamomile or peppermint teas is better. If more stomach acid is needed, take 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or sauerkraut juice just before taking antioxidants. (3)

Resources

Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. Print.

”Foods, Antioxidants, Vitamins, & Supplements for Immune System Health.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.

Heinerman, John. Dr. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Nature’s Vitamins and Minerals. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998. Print.

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