Antioxidants and AgingOctober 26th, 2012
Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.
It’s just a matter of time before we all look in the mirror one day and realize how fast our lives have flown by before us. But, wouldn’t it be nice to look into that mirror and say to yourself, “Damn. I’m looking and feeling awesome for my age”? Well, I have good news. There is a way to achieve that feeling of inner vibrant health, along with great skin, hair and an overall youthful look, no matter what your age.
Antioxidants, that term that is frequently capitalized on through marketing is actually all it’s hyped up to be. Antioxidants and youthfulness are like bread and butter, they go hand in hand. They literally stop oxidation in the body, hence the name, anti-oxidants. Oxidation of the cells in the body is what causes aging and dis-ease.
The term, antioxidant advantage, represents the benefit the body derives from being in a positive state of antioxidants. In other words, if one’s body has MORE antioxidants than it does free radicals–those nasty, unstable molecules that cause aging, tissue damage, and disease–it is able to fight off the free radical scavengers. This allows the body to stay healthy, strong and youthful, and fight off disease at the cellular level, which is what we want folks!
During the aging process, our immune systems slow down and become more susceptible to disease and disorders. If our bodies are not equipped with the correct balance of antioxidants, free radicals can attack our cells and eventually wreak havoc on our tissues and organs, and ultimately cause disease. Having an antioxidant advantage within the body will help to slow down the aging process.
Eating nutrient-dense foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans, fish, and lean meats, in that order, are the best sources of antioxidants. An easy tip for recognizing foods that are abundant in antioxidants is, the brighter the color, the more antioxidants. So, yes to the bright orange papaya, yes to the bright red watermelon, yes to the bright green spinach, yes to the bright orange melon, yes to the bright red strawberries, yes to the bright green avocado. Point taken? Eat your fruits and veggies!
However, it’s also important to be informed that just eating healthy food sometimes isn’t enough to reach the antioxidant advantage state. In certain cases, we need additional antioxidants. This is a dilemma because nowadays we endure exposure to air and water pollution, herbicides, fungicides, other pesticides and because our soil is no longer as healthy as it once was because of agricultural abuse. Therefore, it is best to eat as healthy as possible and on top of that, supplement with a high-quality, food-based multi-vitamin, and other supplements that may be specific to your individual needs.
No matter what your age, starting a healthy way of eating today and increasing the antioxidants in your body is going to be a huge advantage for your health, inside and out.
Here’s to healthy eating, feeling healthy and being youthful today!
Cheers & Be Well
Laura Leff, MS, HN