Your body has a bouncer and his name is A.C.E. Selenium. There is a constant, literal fight going on inside of you. Regular body functions as basic as breathing or any physical activity produce molecules called free radicals. These bad guys start a chain reaction in a cell. Left unchecked they can create conditions leading to cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Antioxidants (our no-nonsense bouncer) stop the chain reaction and “escort” these trouble-makers out. They’re no longer welcome at our party.
A = Beta-caroten (provitamin A) – Foods high in this include red, orange, deep yellow, and some dark green, leafy vegetables. Examples are tomatoes, carrots, spinach, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, winter squash and broccoli. Beta carotens are part of the carotenoids group that includes lycopenes and luteins. Just know that these big confusing words are potent antioxidants that may slow down the aging process and protect against artherosclerosis (hardening/thickening of the arteries). Maybe the fountain of youth is full of Vitamin A!
C = Vitamin C – Probably the best known antioxidant, it protects against infection and bruising. It also helps in the absorption of Iron. Excellent sources of Vitamin C are oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, broccoli, and sweet peppers.
E = Vitamin E – Go nuts for nuts! Walnuts, pecans, almonds, and pistachios contain Vitamin E as well as the germ in the whole grains.
Selenium – A trace mineral found in broccoli (This is 3rd mention of this vegetable – may I suggest more broccoli in your diet?), garlic, and brussels sprouts. This final punch in the knock-out combo protects against certain cancers.
While these antioxidants are good in any form; it is proven they are more effective when provided in food instead of supplements. So you can get more bang for your buck!
As a bonus, foods higher in antioxidants are also high in fiber, low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol. Go Carbs!