Antioxidant rich food is a subject that has become a hot topic the last few years - and for good reason. We face a daily assault against our immunity which affects our appearance as well as our internal body systems and organs.
And nutrition experts have learned that berries are one of the richest sources of bioflavonoids, antioxidants proven to destroy tissue-damaging free radicals and reinforce the cells that make up blood vessel walls which results in significantly enhanced blood circulation.
Some beauty experts now tout berries among the best antioxidant rich foods and their juice and extract to be so powerful that just one eight ounce glass of pure cranberry juice (or the extract equivalent) daily will diminish cellulite dimples in as little as three weeks.
How do you keep free radicals at bay? By the use of free radical scavengers.
These free radical scavengers occur naturally in the body and neutralize free radicals. Certain enzymes serve this vital function and four important enzymes are superoxide dismutase (SOD), methione reductase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.
The body normally produces these enzymes but it needs help for full spectrum free radical prevention and damage control. That's where a diet rich in antioxidants is vital. These antioxidants are also scavengers, gobbling up the sometimes deadly free radical particles.
Many health care practitioners see the wisdom in daily intake of plenty of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Some recommend daily: Intake of 1 quart (1.1 litre) purified water a day PLUS 1 quart (1.1 litre) fresh fruit or vegetable juice.
With juicing one can consume many more enzymes and natural antioxidants than a person normally would in a "good diet". Your body is composed of billions of microscopic cells and your every existence depends on these cells. They need live nourishment and this can be supplied very well in the form of juicing.
There are many juicers now available and you can achieve benefit from any of them. We like the newer, time-saving models that allow the user to place WHOLE fruits and vegetables in the unit and delicious, fresh juice emerges in a matter of seconds.
The more color and variety of produce, the more natural antioxidants one can consume. Carotenoids and flavonoids found in these fruits and vegetables can contribute to a very large extent to our program of antiaging. Why?
Because these natural chemical compounds slow or halt oxidative processes that may prevent or deter the onset of many diseases associated with aging, including heart disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, wrinkles and sun damage and much more.
By adding concentrated berry extracts, one has even more natural antioxidant tools. Once again, eating fresh is great. However, some companies now offer concentrated extracts of berries like elderberries, blueberries, cranberries, and bilberries for 10-15 times the amount of antioxidants as can be found in the fruit alone.
Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center have found that blueberries rank number 1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Anthycyanin - the pigment that makes blueberries blue - is thought to be responsible for this major health benefit. Blueberries also contain beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, ellagic acid and phenolics that can also act as antioxidants. Other health benefits one can expect form blueberries are:
Support cognitive function, concentration and memory
Maintain eye and retina health
Promote urinary tract health
Support healthy glucose metabolism
Not just for urinary tract health, cranberry extracts are provide potent antioxidants that protect and detoxify. Combining cranberry with the therapeutically beneficial elderberry and lo han fruits results in a delicious herbal supplement that helps to maintain urinary tract health, promotes cardiovascular health, cellular health and even dental health. Because of its detoxifying properties, it increases your energy levels and improves mood.
If you cannot source concentrated berry extracts, here are some wild-crafted brands:
Pomegranates too have been used for thousands of years by Mediterranean peoples. And pomegranates have recently been promoted for their beautiful skin-enhancing properties.
Pomegranates contain polyphenols, tannins, ellagic acid and anthocyanins. These compounds are believed to fight disease and pomegranates can also:
Support healthy blood pressure levels
Help maintain healthy blood vessels
Reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol
Support oral health
Support skin health
Green, black and white teas have been studied for their antioxidant powers too. Many research organizations have demonstrated that the polyphenols, detected in these teas, help to support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system and are recommended for smokers, the obese and those under stress and duress, though anyone could benefit from their consumption.
A source of concentrated green tea extracts:
Some vitamins are considered antioxidants such as vitamins E and C. As are the carotenoids (such as beta-carotene); selenium; and flavonoids (anthocyanidins, polyphenols, quercetin, glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10. Vitamin E is the body's principal fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin and protects fatty cell components from free-radical oxidation. It works well in conjunction with selenium and vitamin C.
As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects DNA and other cell structures from damage. It also protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation which would otherwise trigger an early step in the development of cardiovascular disease.
There are other antioxidants so to verify a wide spectrum of protection, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and consider a daily intake of a plant-based green "superfood" formula. Preferably one that contains foods from the allium family (onions, garlic, chives) and sprouts.
Sprouts from vegetables and legumes are extremely health-enhancing and often contain a concentrated form of antioxidant protection not found in the food alone. Broccoli sprouts, especially have been noted to provide more protection than just eating the cruciferous vegetables by themselves. Which is very important for immune enhancement and cancer prevention.
This is one of several in a series of health articles detailing the benefits of antioxidants.
The rest of the series is available online here:
Antioxidant-Rich Foods For Beauty and Vibrant Health (press release)
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