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Antioxidants vs. Free Radicals
Which One Wins is Up To
If you want antioxidants to achieve
victory over free radicals in your body, the choice is yours. All
you have to do is eat a varied, wholesome food with lots of veggies,
fruit, some seeds and nuts.
In addition to environmentally and
naturally acquired free radicals, the consumption of processed junk food, which is
often loaded with saturated fats, hormones, harmful additives, etc., can
cause the body to form large quantities of these harmful chemicals during the metabolic
Antioxidants act as active
scavengers of these destructive free radicals. They play an
important role in the body’s natural defense and repair system and help
slow aging by combating and preventing oxidation—a degenerative process
caused by free radicals.
Obtaining nutrients from food sources is more effective than taking supplements. And research has suggested that for people who drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, consumption of beta-carotene supplements may even be harmful.)
Let's take a closer look at specific antioxidants.
Vitamin C offers many health benefits. It boosts the body's immune system, aids in iron absorption, prevent cataracts, maintains connective tissues (bones, teeth, skin and tendons), keeps cholesterol levels down, protects you from damage caused by stress, promotes mental health, supports tissue repair, protects against cardiovascular and gum disease and certain types of cancer.
Vitamin C is necessary for the
production of the hormone thyroxine, which regulates the basal metabolic
rate and body temperature and the production of collagen, which forms the
scar tissue that heals wounds (responsible for mending fractures and the
supporting materials of capillaries that prevent bruising).
Beta-carotene, which your body turns
into vitamin A when you digest it, provides vital benefits to the body in many different ways.
It’s good for the vision, skin, bones, normal cell development,
reproduction, aids in the repair of tissue in the body and is crucial in
the maintenance of the immune system in fighting invasive infections.
Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body into the active form
of retinol. Scientists do not specify beta-carotene amounts in food but
rather express it as RE (retinol equivalents) extracted by body from plant
food after ingestion.
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The Research Department
A recent study funded by the Natural
Environment Research Council and conducted by scientists at Glasgow
University has found that an early diet consisting of junk food promotes
aging in zebra finches. Now experts believe that the consumption of junk
food may have the same adverse effect on humans.
a link to the press release announcing the findings.
Stressing the Importance of Avoiding Stress
about stress and the importance of practicing stress-management techniques
in my newsletter
issued on June 19, 2003 ("Your Mental Environment" column).
The consequences of experiencing high levels of stress have always been
known to cause health problems.
Scientists at Ohio State University have recently discovered exactly why chronic stress can be so deadly. As I mentioned in my previous column, stressful situations cause the body to release toxic chemicals that pollute the body, and those pollutants cause ill health.
there is scientific evidence published in this week’s issue of Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences that identifies a chemical
called interleukin-6 (IL-6)
as the culprit. People under stress show higher levels of
in their blood.
Other studies have previously associated increased levels IL-6 with heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes and arthritis. Smoking and overeating seem to also boost the levels of this deadly chemical. And, of course, adequate sleep and regular exercise decrease it.
My guacamole recipe is truly
delicious, provides complete protein and it’s refreshingly light. Tofu
adds more texture to it without taking away from the flavor. Avocados are
high in fat. But eating 1/3 of
an avocado is good as part of a healthful diet. Most of this fat in it is
monounsaturated, which is protects against heart disease and diabetes. Avocado is the most nutrient-rich
fruit available—providing more concentrated nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin C,
riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and dietary fiber per calorie
than any other fruit. Avocado also contains lutein, a carotenoid that helps protect
against cataracts and prostate cancer. Among fruits, avocado is the
richest in vitamin E.
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Comments? Please send e-mail to Amira at [email protected]
This newsletter is not intended to provide and replace medical advice. The author and editor expressly disclaim all responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from any information, diet or exercise suggestions. It is imperative that the advice of a physician is sought before any diet or exercise programs are adopted.