Antioxidants are the powerhouses of vitamins and other nutrients within fruits and vegetables that provide protection for your body against free radicals. Free radicals? What are free radicals you ask?
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules in your body. These free radicals then go out and damage the molecules of our healthy cells in a domino-like reaction, and sometimes, even our DNA. In fact, there are four ways in which free radicals can cause cell damage, to the:
- Cell Walls
- Cell Protoplasm
To protect ourselves against these free radicals, our bodies developed a complex system of antioxidants! Some of the principle antioxidants are Vitamins C and E, along with beta carotene. Guess what? Lucky us, as these are also high in so many of the wonderful vegetables we use in green juices and a plant-based diet!
The antioxidants react safely with the free radicals and prevent them from performing their complete chain reaction. The free radicals beat up our cells and damage them, sometimes even killing them in the process. Free radicals have an odd number of electrons which causes much of the problem because the electrons are supposed to come in pairs. The antioxidants either add another electron or take one away to make an even number and neutralize the free radicals.
Vitamin E is highly present in nuts, nut oils, olives, spinach, seeds and apricots. Vitamin C is much more common in citrus fruits, peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, cantaloupe and other awesome produce. Kale, spinach and broccoli are all staples of green juices and you’re likely to come across them a lot in my recipes. Beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, is present in carrots, spinach, broccoli and peaches, among others. In most cases, the more colorful the vegetable, the better. This includes the dark green, yellows and oranges.
Diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even HIV may get some relief from the proper amount of antioxidants we put into our body through our food. We can also all benefit by slowing down the aging process and looking and feeling younger than our years!
I, and many others cancer sur-THRIVERS I know, are living proof that such a wonderful diet can truly change your life around from the inside out!
Science is still studying the true effects of antioxidants and trying to single out the benefits of them. It’s inconclusive so far, but even the American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day based on what we’re starting to notice with antioxidants. Note: I personally recommend 1 serving of fruit and 4+ servings of mostly green veggies, and about 2 servings of red, yellow or orange veggies – just eliminate or reduce the higher glycemic ones like carrots and beets!
What many studies do support is that the fact that people who eat more fruits and vegetables seem to be less likely to have serious diseases, such as cancers or heart disease. The conclusion is that it’s because of the antioxidants, or something else in the vegetables, that’s providing these awesome benefits! So what do you have to lose?!
Let’s Get More Antioxidants
What we do know is this – fruits and vegetables are great for our overall health and for helping us look and feel younger – so, who the heck doesn’t want that? We simply need to get as many of them as we can starting now – especially the dark leafy and cruciferous ones! In addition to the nutritional intake, be sure to also drink filtered, clean water and breathe clean air as much as possible (no smoking)!