We've heard a lot recently about antioxidants-they're in the news and presented from a medical point of view on shows like Dr. Oz. Are antioxidants something new? Well, no, they're not, but it turns out that antioxidants play an important part in keeping ourselves healthy. Knowing about them and how they affect and protect our health is important.
So how do we get our antioxidants? Although our bodies produce antioxidants through its natural processes, outside of that, eating healthy is our first best source. In addition, our second source is an antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplement, which helps support consistent levels of antioxidant protection.
First, it turns out that Mother Nature's food, in its simplest and most natural form, gets the highest ratings! Those fruits and vegetables we were told to eat when we were kids are rich in antioxidants. For example, berries, with their rich array of dark and bright reds, and the dark green veggies, like spinach, give the most antioxidant “bang” for their buck. But other foods, such as nuts, seeds, garlic and olives, etc., and grains, are also high in antioxidants. Fish and meats also contribute to a healthy diet.
Where do we get the information that tells us this? There are many sources for lists of high antioxidant foods. Plus, healthy oriented cookbooks and magazines offer great recipes for putting together high antioxidant meals and snacks. Check on-line for articles and books.
How do we know if our antioxidant levels are good? Well, to ensure that we're doing our best is to consider every meal and snack as important. So we need to plan our eating menus. To begin, research high antioxidant foods and recipes; then buy the “right” food, and prepare meals and snacks that are nourishing.
How realistic is this high antioxidant intake to sustain? The recommended serving of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is several per day. With our busy schedules, it is likely we'll be inconsistent. Our second source, a high quality antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation program will make up the difference and ensure consistency.
How do we choose a supplement? The ingredients of various supplements are compared routinely. However, other factors which are equally important are more difficult to figure out, like the quality of the formulations and absorbability of ingredients. These vary a lot and affect the antioxidant benefit you receive. Before you take any supplements, do your research, discuss with your doctor, and find out how you can measure your antioxidant levels (yes, there is a way) to see how well your food and supplements measure up.