Antioxidants are substances that help our bodies fight free radicals-natural but toxic chemical reactions that occur in our bodies and damage our cells. Different antioxidants combat different free radicals, so it’s wise to know and use a wide range of antioxidant foods and vitamins that help preserve health and vitality.
Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant vitamin. Foods that contain the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C include oranges, lemons, grapefruits, cantaloupe, many leafy greens, broccoli and peppers. Beta carotene, found in carrots, is another antioxidant nutrient.
Garlic is another food known for its antioxidant properties. Garlic actually has many healthy properties and can even be used as an antibacterial.
Berries of almost every type are excellent antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all have antioxidant properties.
Although cooking can dilute the nutrients in food, most foods have more than enough to last. The antioxidant properties of red grapes are even found in wine, so it’s not necessary to eat raw foods in order to get antioxidant benefits.
And speaking of antioxidants that you can drink, don’t forget about tea. All different kinds of tea have these good-for-you properties, not just green tea, as was originally thought.
While nutritional supplements are available to help us get the nutrients we aren’t getting from food, the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (especially if those vegetables are broccoli and spinach) should provide most of the antioxidants you need. Especially for children, it’s wise not to get in the habit of relying on supplements when a naturally varied diet can provide for most nutritional needs.
As we get older, however, it may become necessary to supplement certain vitamins and minerals; for example, some older people lose the ability to naturally synthesize enough Vitamin B12. Vitamin D is another vitamin that may need to be supplemented in older people. Your doctor can do blood tests to determine if you could benefit from vitamin supplementation.
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