This article was originally published in the November 2004 issue of Zone Net
Supplementing your diet with extra antioxidants is crucial to our bodies and our immune systems during times when we are more likely to come into contact with cold or flu viruses in packed shopping malls or other public places . Just what exactly are antioxidants? Well, antioxidants are essentially natural compounds that protect our bodies from free radical damage to our cells. This destructive process is called oxidation. Just like many metals oxidize and then rust, our own bodies tend to do the same over time. The oxidation then results in specific chemical changes that impair the healthy process that should be happening.
It should be considered that free radicals are produced within the body every single day from the different chemical reactions which happen in each individual part of our bodies.
You should understand that free radicals are produced outside of the body as well, reaching us through sun-rays, toxic chemicals in our drinking water, second-hand as well as first-hand smoke, and pollution in general. It is believed by certain researchers that free radicals are a major reason for the aging process and a cause of some illnesses. Antioxidants are there to basically absorb the free radicals but due to the sheer numbers of free radicals it is critical to incorporate antioxidants through certain foods plus dietary supplements so you can support your natural defenses.
Antioxidants are usually abundant in foods that are rich in colors.
Therefore foods that feature reds, lush greens, and strong blues are generally antioxidant rich. Top foods in terms of antioxidant power include such foods as cranberries, blueberries, spinach, black beans, strawberries, grapes and sweet potatoes(the deeper the orange the better), among numerous others.
Both red wine and grape juice are known to have have a relatively high antioxidant value. It is also worth noting that many spices are antioxidant rich as well.