Understanding antioxidant health is an important component to your efforts to remain healthy and thrive. It sounds a bit like hocus pocus, but you truly can add years to your life with the help of antioxidants, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. Antioxidants are in the vitamins and minerals you absorb through food consumption, and unlike fat and calories, monitoring your antioxidants is not a strict numbers game.
What Is An Antioxidant?
Similar to the way metal oxidizes when it is exposed to the elements, your body’s cells can oxidize when they produce free radicals during oxygen exposure (yes, breathing). Over time, oxidation caused by free radicals can damage cells, which leaves them vulnerable to degenerative diseases such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- macular degeneration
- Alzheimer’s disease
Thus, if free radicals sound like tiny, evil, and unhealthy aliens invading your healthy body, antioxidants are the tiny, brave, and dedicated soldiers who are fighting them without mercy. Antioxidants actually shield your cells from being damaged by free radicals, along with correcting the damage that has already occurred. Antioxidants are your body’s personal guard, whose job it is to preserve your life. Antioxidant Rich Foods
Surprisingly, finding antioxidant rich foods is rather elementary. Just look for the bright colors! Okay, it is not quite that simple, but almost. Natural produce with distinctively bright coloring is often rich in antioxidants. Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants and present in:
- citrus fruits (grapefruit, lime, orange)
- leafy green vegetables
- green peppers
Other foods that act as antioxidants and possible life savers are:
- red wine
- red meat
Being rich in antioxidants also allows these foods to enhance your immune system, which, along with preventing degenerative diseases associated with aging, also prevents everyday threats like infection and inconvenient illness. The old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away should be updated to something more like 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day helps protect you from all the diseases that threaten to shorten your lifespan. Will Antioxidants Really Add Years to Your Life?
Sadly, the answer to this question is yes and no. There is nothing a human being can do to guarantee an extended lifespan, but there are many things you can do to try. Oddly, you cannot really know if you have succeeded until your life is over. Setting the philosophical conversation of the pros and cons (the fountain of youth aside), antioxidants definitely protect your cells from damage that can become a disease that ends life “before its time.” Since every human body has its own unique cells, there is no telling how much protection each individual requires. There is also no telling which cells can agree to be protected, and which cells want to be and remain damaged. If you know there are certain degenerative diseases you are susceptible to because they run in your family, antioxidant health is probably already a huge priority for you. Depending on your susceptibility, you should always seek a physician’s advice when determining your best method of protection. It is important that you understand that antioxidants are simply one component to your body’s fight against disease and aging. An antioxidant rich diet, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and regular medical checkups, will definitely make you feel strong and healthy – and for some people, just feeling better can extend your life.