Test Your Knowledge About the Health Benefits of Antioxidants!
Which of the following statements about antioxidants is FALSE?
- A. Health benefits of antioxidants protect us from environmental toxins.
- B. Antioxidants neutralize damage caused by free radicals.
- C. Antioxidants are important vitamins and minerals.
- D. Antioxidants are a natural by-product of body function.
Answer: The correct answer is D: Antioxidants are a natural by-product of body function.
The health benefits of antioxidants help protect healthy cells from damage. Important vitamins like Vitamin C and E, as well as minerals like zinc, beta-carotene, manganese, and selenium, are all antioxidants. Antioxidants act as the “bricks” that make up the “wall” of our immune system.
The health benefits of antioxidants help protect us from environmental toxins that we are exposed to every day. Antioxidants act as scavengers in the body, wiping out free-radicals, therefore minimizing the damage to your body’s cells. What are free-radicals? Free radicals are a group of chemical substances that steal electrons from neighboring molecules thereby altering that molecule’s structure or function. When the damage by the free radicals continues for a long time, it may increase the likelihood of diseases like cancer and age-related eye disease. Cigarette smoke and even our food and water can harbor free radicals in the form of pesticides and other toxins. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also triggers substantial free radical production.
Studies show that those who have diets rich in antioxidants and/or take antioxidant supplements are less likely to suffer the effects of free radicals. Even smokers with high antioxidant intake are less likely to develop lung cancer. The best way to get the health benefits of antioxidants is to eat foods high in antioxidants. The richest sources of antioxidants are found in what we call “phytofoods.”
Phyto-foods are high in phytonutrients. The word “Phyto” means “plant” and the word “nutrients” means vitamins and minerals, so phytonutrients are vitamins and minerals from plants.
You can help to combat the effect of free radicals by choosing foods that are rich in antioxidants.
Try These Superior Antioxidant Superfoods
- Wild Salmon
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark Green Veggies
- Green Tea
- Fresh Herbs
- Kidney Beans
- Dark Chocolate
- Sears, W., & Sears, M. (2010). Prime-time health: A scientifically proven plan for feeling young and living longer. New York: Little, Brown and Co.
If you are interested in learning more about similar health and nutrition topics such the microbiology of food, how to help the body repair itself, foods to avoid, supplementation, etc., consider becoming a Dr. Sears Certified Health Coach.
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