Fighting Free Radicals with Antioxidants

by Carrie Pepper

Most of us have heard about free radical damage, but do you really know what it means? Free radicals are chemicals that are produced as a by-product of normal cellular metabolism. There are many things that create free radical damage, among them cigarette smoking, drinking chlorinated water, pollution and sunlight. Free radicals are evil, destructive gremlins that damage our tissues. They damage our DNA and they cause us to age more quickly. So, what can we do? Increase our intake of antioxidants!

Antioxidants are chemicals that neutralize free radicals. They are found in fruits and vegetables. Remember all those times your mother reminded you to eat your vegetables? Well, she was right! There are some powerful antioxidants in those delicious, dark colored fruits and vegetables, some with big words like zeazanthin, lycopene and anthocyanin. These are what causes the dark pigment in yellow corn, blueberries and tomatoes.

We have enough free radical damage just living on the earth. Some causes are: too much sun exposure, exericise, stress, eating meat, alcohol and one of the worse - smoking. We can certainly pay attention to all of these, and we can also go one step further and start increasing our intake of antioxidants.

Where to start? Dr. Oz did a show recently on "Cancer Fighting Antioxidants." Dr. Oz (a well-known cardiologist) used a technology called the BioPhotonic Scanner to test the antioxidant level of everyone in his studio audience. The results were shocking. Most of the guests had a very low score; this indicates poor eating habits and nutrition. Dr. Oz talked about foods that are the highest in antoixidants and those were (from the hightest to lowest) red beans, blueberries, cranberries pecans and broccoli. Do you eat these on a regular basis? You might want to start!
There are numerous reasons to make sure you get plenty of antioxidants in your diet. They help slow down the aging process, may prevent diseases such as Alheizmer's and they give your skin a more youthful glow. There are many foods that act as "triggers" to help speed up antioxidant production. Some of these are red wine, broccoli, tumeric and green tea. When Hipporcates spoke these words many thousands of years ago, his wisdom was sound. We all have a natural, healing force within us. He said, "Let thy food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." The same is true today.

Filed under: Health
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About Carrie Pepper

Carrie Pepper (Sacramento, California) is a freelance writer who has written on a variety of topics (health/sports, anti-aging and skin care, environmental, natural resources, etc.) for local and national publications. She is a monthly columnist for Health and Fitness magazine (www.healthfitness.us) and has been a contributing author for Health Communications, Inc. (HCI Books). She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a memoir about her brother who was killed in action at Khe Sanh, Vietnam. He was never recovered. You can read more about her at: www.carriepepper.com

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