Antioxidants have become a need-to-know 21st century buzz term because of their remarkable health-promoting powers. They nurture, protect, revitalize, and rejuvenate all of your body’s one hundred trillion cells.
Best of all, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to load-up on these wonder nutrients every day of your life. Thanks to Mother Nature, antioxidants are abundant in many inexpensive natural foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.
Furthermore, when they’re consumed on a regular basis as part of a healthy diet, they’re reputed to have noticeable anti-aging benefits. Some health experts claim they can — in some instances — even reverse the aging process.1 At the very least, their anti-aging powers will help keep your skin taut and well-supported by strong underlying muscle tone.2
The diversity of vitamins and minerals in antioxidants are also immune system boosters. They fortify your body’s first line of defense against viral and bacterial illnesses, as well as a wide range of degenerative diseases and other ailments. Not only are they effective in a preventative capacity, but they can even aid your recovery from whatever ails you, including injuries incurred at the gym.
These fountain-of-youth natural food ingredients also combat invisible inflammation inside your body, which is a very common pro-aging condition. Antioxidants accomplish this by helping to cleanse your insides of harmful internal irritants known as ‘free radicals’. And this is a bigger deal than you may think because these instigators of cellular-level inflammation can lead to the onset of numerous age-related degenerative diseases. 3
Moreover, we’re under constant assault from free radicals, which can easily multiply in your body in response to external factors. For instance, your exposure to any of the following stimuli can act as a catalyst for their proliferation inside you:
pollutants in the air
chemically-tainted drinking water
pesticide and herbicide residues in our food
toxic industrial chemicals
low-level radiation exposure
the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light rays
Unfortunately, free radicals are unavoidable, even if you live in a tropical paradise far away from civilization. That’s because your body is programmed to produce small amounts of free radicals on a daily basis, regardless of how healthy you are. Simply stated, they’re merely generated as a natural by-product of your body’s use of oxygen to generate energy.
However, if you get sick, even just from a cold or the flu, your body’s production of these natural toxins will become elevated until you fully recover. Even emotional stress can cause your body to produce abnormally high levels of free radicals. Ironically, healthy physical activities — including all forms of exercise — can also have the same negative effect when they create ‘oxidative stress’.
So if you work out frequently, this is yet another important reason to build your diet around fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic). These brightly-colored foods tend to be loaded with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and selenium. All four of which are in a league of their own. Hence, they’ve earned the moniker ‘super-antioxidants’.
Fruits and vegetables aside, you can get these indispensible nutrients from other food sources, too. For instance, vitamin E can be found in high concentrations in eggs, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Foods that are rich in selenium include meat, seafood, poultry, whole grains, and nuts.
And beta carotene is used by some food manufacturers as an additive to fortify certain breads, cereals, and oatmeal. Vitamin C can also be found in meaningful amounts in some herbs and spices. They include cilantro, chives, thyme, basil, parsley, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and coriander leaves.
Once again, it’s preferable if you buy fruits and vegetables — as well as herbs and spices — that are organic. This is because soil that’s rich in organic matter produces more nutritious food than earth that has been sterilized with pesticides and herbicides. And non-organic produce can contain residues from these toxic chemicals.
2) Perricone, Nicholas, M.D. The Perricone Prescription. HarperCollins
Publishing, Edition 2002, p. 51-52
3) Challem, Jack. The Inflammation Syndrome, John Wiley & Sons, 2003, p. 41
How “Super-Antioxidants” = Anti-Cancer
If you’re not convinced of their superpowers yet, let’s dig a little deeper into super-antioxidants to find out exactly how each one helps reinforce your health.
Beta Carotene promotes cardiovascular health, boosts your immune system, and strengthens your body’s defenses against the threat of cancer. In addition, it helps your body to produce vitamin A. With strong anti-viral properties, vitamin A is considered a super-antioxidant in its own right.1 Plus, it can remedy skin conditions, and improve your overall complexion.
Vitamin C boosts your immune system by producing plenty of infection-fighting antibodies. It also offers protection against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and chronic fatigue.2It can even lower “bad” cholesterol levels. And it heightens your body’s output of collagen. This leads to healthier, more radiant skin, as well as stronger bones.
Vitamin E improves your body’s ability to generate antibodies and may therefore help to keep cancer at bay. It also improves blood circulation to your brain and all of your other vital organs, as well as your muscles.3
Selenium offers some protection against both cancer and heart disease. It also strengthens your immune system because it aids in the production of antibodies.9 And on a cosmetic level, selenium helps your skin retain its elasticity and youthful appearance.
1) Null, Gary, Ph.D. Ultimate Anti-Aging Program. Kensington Publishing,
1999 edition, p. 146-151
3) Dr. Haas, Elson. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Celestial Arts Publishing,
1992, p. 102-103