Antioxidants: The Bright and the Powerful

blackberriesWhat are antioxidants and why are they important?

Antioxidants are little powerhouses of immune boosting power for your body. These are essential as we head into flu season! You can see them in your whole food diet, as they are the molecules that provide fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. The role of antioxidants is to neutralize the effect of free radicals, which are unstable electrons that alter the chemical structure of molecules. During normal metabolism and in times of infection, the body produces compounds that can be very destructive. This harmful damage is considered the major cause of aging and degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune system weakness and cataract.

Antioxidants include many vitamins, minerals and plant-nutrients
(phytonutrients). An example is carotenoids, i.e., beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A).
Antioxidants help nourish the cells to sufficiently avoid degenerative diseases.

Frequent colds, flus, and infections may be some of the initial indications of
inadequate antioxidants. A wide variety of antioxidant containing foods (all plant
based foods in vibrant colors) should be consumed with every meal and chew all
food well since chewing food can help improve the absorption of antioxidants and
other nutrients.

A variety of foods contain antioxidants, including: red beans, blueberries, kidney beans, pinto beans, cranberries, artichoke hearts, blackberries, prunes, raspberries, strawberries, apples, persimmons, pomegranates, butternut squash, etc. Different colors represent a different variety of nutrients. Just look for the bright colors!!