If you’re following a weight loss plan, you might be deluged with new information about nutrition. You’re learning the basics, such as how much protein you need to eat every day, or how sugars are metabolized in the body. But you’re probably reading a lot about antioxidants, too.
One thing we’ve noticed about health and nutrition blogs is that the writers seem to assume that everyone knows what these mysterious micronutrients are. You’ve probably heard your friends talk about them, too. Ah yes, antioxidants, everyone seems to be saying. Gotta get those antioxidants. Meanwhile, many of you are probably thinking, Okay, great, but what are those exactly? And why should I care about them?
To understand antioxidants, it might help to back up and first learn about oxidants. Oxidants are all around us, and come from things like cigarette smoke, pollution, and alcohol, just to name a few. If you’ve heard the term “free radicals”, that’s just another name for oxidants. Your body also produces oxidants at times, to fight off infections.
The problem with oxidants is that an overload of them can cause damage to your body, all the way down to the cellular level. Back in the 1990s, scientists began to notice a link between oxidants, or free radicals, and serious health conditions like cancer and diabetes.
Antioxidants, on the other hand, help to strengthen your cells and protect them against damage from free radicals. They occur naturally in plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, dark chocolate, and even wine. Aside from maintaining your caloric intake, antioxidants are one of the major reasons we recommend a diet rich in fresh produce. A varied diet helps you access all of nature’s little helpers, that protect your body’s cells and help to prevent many chronic diseases from ever developing.
Plus, antioxidants help to slow the signs of skin damage. So they can also be a powerful tool for your anti-aging arsenal.
Different foods contain different antioxidants. For example, tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, while red wine contains resveratrol. Vitamins A, C, and E are also powerful antioxidants. You can even get antioxidants from herbs and spices, so eating a varied diet really is one of the best ways to protect your health.
To learn more about a nutritious weight loss plan that can also help to prevent aging and some chronic diseases, call us to schedule an appointment. We will discuss your priorities and help you put together an eating plan that meets your needs.