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Natural Antioxidants

Natural antioxidants are those substances that are found in nature which, when consumed, work to neutralize free radicals in the body. Vitamin C and E are the most commonly found natural antioxidants. These vitamins are present in a number of different food items which, when consumed, boost the health of the body by providing the body with antioxidants that can help to control the extent to which free radicals develop. Other natural antioxidants include lipoic acid, glutathione and the coenzyme q10. These five natural antioxidants are the mainstays of the natural antioxidants list although there are other substances that have antioxidant capabilities as well.
Repeated studies have shown that natural antioxidants are far more effective at providing a healthy boost to the individual’s body than those found in antioxidant supplements. Antioxidant supplements may actually damage the individual’s health rather than support it. It is therefore imperative that the individual consume natural antioxidants in food that is fresh and healthy. Fresh, healthy food is likely to contain a lot of beneficial nutrition. Amongst these beneficial nutrients, one will also find antioxidant vitamins and substances. In order to experience the benefits of a healthier body, one must consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that support many of the body’s important functions. A lack of vitamins can create havoc for the individual. When one consumes a healthy, balanced diet, one will automatically be serving the body with natural antioxidants. Some natural antioxidants are also found in drinks such as tea and wine. Studies have shown that cultures where these drinks are consumed tend to be healthier as a result. For an exhaustive natural antioxidants list, one can speak with a doctor who will prescribe the right types of food that are rich in antioxidants. 

Health Benefits of Antioxidants: Antioxidants slow the process of oxidation in the body. They also help boost the immune system and protect the body against serious health issues like hypertension, cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants are also very effective in repairing damaged skin as well as keeping it young and healthy. They also help heal skin damaged by harsh weather and keep wrinkles and age lines at bay. While antioxidant supplements like natural acai are easily available in the market, there really is no substitute for natural and organic antioxidants.

Foods high in antioxidants:  The most common sources of antioxidants are vitamin rich fruits and vegetables. Certain fruits and vegetables are richer in antioxidants than others. These include berries, oranges, plum, kiwi, grapefruits and other citruses, red cabbage, parsley, pepper, artichoke, spinach, cereals, legumes, nuts, dates, soy and tomatoes. The best way to judge the content of antioxidants in a fruit and vegetable is its color. The brighter the color, the more nutrients you can get from it. Another great source of antioxidants is fish, which are rich in natural omega 3 fatty acids.

How to include a healthy portion of antioxidants into your daily meal plan – Antioxidants are good for health. Fortunately, they can also be fun to eat. With antioxidants, you don’t have to give up on the little treats just to stay fit. Here are a few pointers on how you can include natural antioxidants into your diet: 
  • Snack healthy: When in need of a snack, substitute the vending machine goodies for something natural. Munch on fresh fruits and nuts, and wash it down with fresh juice. All of these are a great source of antioxidants. You can eat your fill without worrying about weight gain and other such side effects. Berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are a particularly good choice as they have flavonoids, which are known to counter free radicals in the body.
  • Don’t overcook: Overcooking takes away a great deal of nutritional value of legumes and vegetables. As the vitamins are lost, so are antioxidants. The same goes for washing fruits and vegetables. This is also why it is better to buy organic produce. Since these aren’t laden with pesticides and insecticides you don’t have to wash them so thoroughly that the nutrients are lost.
  • Garnish your meals: When preparing meals and salads go ahead and garnish the dishes with antioxidant rich parsley, dill, basil and coriander. These herbs add a little extra flavor to the meal and keep the ship running smoothly from within. They can be eaten raw as well or taken with a glass of water.
  • Tea, coffee and some dark chocolate: Natural green tea and coffee are two great sources of antioxidants. Just be sure not to take any milk or cream with your cuppa as milk (and other dairy products) dilutes the effect of the antioxidants. In addition to green tea and coffee, dark chocolate is also known to be a source of antioxidant and it is recommended in small quantities.
Submitted on May 27, 2011