It’s easy to believe that free-radicals are “bad” and anti-oxidants are “good.” At least that’s what they tell us. But, do you know why?
It’s tempting to go along with health trends, but lasting change and a happy lifestyle that works for you personally must be fueled by the “why!”
If you don’t know why you fuel your body with “healthy” foods and supplements, it’s unlikely that overtime you will stick with it. In this case, ignorance is NOT bliss.
I’m here to help you uncover and discover long-term joy in your life… so, here are some basics that will hopefully be the foundation for making life choices that work for YOU.
FREE RADICALS: What are they and why are they “bad?”
Free radicals operate on the molecular level. The simplest way to understand it is to think in terms of your skin health. Some occur in normal metabolism, but others are created by unhealthy influences (pollution, sun, chemicals) that seek to find a home and become strong by finding weakness in your cells. If they find a way into the healthy cells, they can then enlist other weakened cells to help them stabilize. Once these unhealthy cells are stabilized, can become age spots, pre-cancer and other bridges to aging and disease.
So what can we do about this? How can you protect yourself? Wearing organic clothing can help minimize the chemicals your skin is exposed to, but diet and supplements are very helpful too...
ANTI-OXIDANTS: What are they and why are they “good?”
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are common anti-oxidants that can be applied directly to the skin in various forms. They can create barriers and actually inhibit the growth or stabilization of free radicals and the negative impact they can have.
Similar to the skin, the body has internal tissue and organs made up of cells that are susceptible to free-radical invasion.
This means that the food you choose to eat has a direct impact on the way free-radicals are neutralized and in terms your overall health.
One of the main things that nutritionists stress is that you CAN over do it. Loading up on Vitamins, supplements and “anti-oxidant” rich food without awareness or balance may not be helpful.
As you’re probably aware, “Rich in anti-oxidants” has become a marketing tool! So, tread lightly and take the reins back. With some simple investigation, you can find a balance that works for you.
Anti-oxidants are only part of the balance. In fact, it is common to confuse; Anti-oxidants, Phyto-chemicals and Omega 3 – Fatty acids. While all can function in fighting weakness and disease in your body and environment, they are not the same thing. So be sure to educate yourself.
Here is some basic info that you can use as a guide to customizing your best
Vitamin C: the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 75 milligrams a day for women and 90 milligrams per day for men. For example one medium orange is 69 mg and 1 cup strawberries are 81 mg. How easy is that?!
Vitamin E: the RDA is 15 milligrams per day with a 1,000 milligram intake ceiling. An easy snack would be one ounce of sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted) with 14 mg per serving.
Omega 3 – fatty acids: There is no RDA, but adding them to your intake through food or supplements is vital to combating disease as your body cannot make it. A great way to integrate this into your diet is fresh (coldwater) fish; salmon, sardines, tuna, lake trout. Also, chia and flax seeds, as well as beans (kidney, for example) contribute to a healthy intake.
Phyto-nutrients: There is no RDA, but studies show they not only fight cancer, but also hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. And what is important to note is they CANNOT be found in supplements. They are only available in foods you eat. Primarily fruits and vegetables.
You can find out more about these and other nutrients in a recent cancer study at Stanford University. They do a great job of explaining the benefits and differences.
While I’ve just scratched the surface of a vast sea of knowledge, my hope is that providing a small bit of the “why” will be your springboard to a healthy adventure.
If you have specific questions that come to mind, please comment below and I will be sure to reply with an answer.
In the meantime, I am most definitely in your corner…
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photo credit: sirwiseowl via photopin cc