Anti-aging? Berry good!

Anti-aging?  Berry good!

Antioxidants are all around us in the media, but why are they so important?  There are so many oxidizing agents in the environment that are easy to think about like smoke, smog, too much sun and toxic metals which are known as free radicals.  We can try to avoid a lot of environmental free radicals, but there are also metabolic processes that happen within the body that create free radicals, which we cannot escape.
These oxidizing agents can cause all sorts of damage throughout the body.  Similar to the way a car rusts when exposed to air, free radicals can have destructive effects on the body leading to cell damage, tissue damage and disease.  So how do we protect ourselves from these cellular damages associated environmental toxicity and aging?
Multi-vitamins and supplements can help the body, but the most effective way is to get the nutrients and vitamins from fruits and vegetables.  There are some foods that are not commonly thought of as anti-oxidant rich, but can provide the most powerful protection.
According to the US Department of Agriculture the top provider of anti-oxidant power are pecans.  Red beans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cranberries, blueberries, prunes, and black beans follow in anti-oxidant power respectively.  Blackberries, raspberries, and apples also provide a sufficient amount of protection. Fruits and vegetables provide the best ratio of vitamins that we need for essential function and anti-aging power.  The body absorbs the vitamins best in their natural form since their chemical form is sometimes changed by the processing involved with making supplements.
The most abundant and powerful vitamin source of antioxidants are vitamins C and E.  Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in nuts, fish, and whole grains.  The recommended daily allowance is 15 IU per day.  Vitamin C is water-soluble and found mostly in the fruits and some vegetables.  The RDA for Vitamin C is 60mg per day.  Both of these vitamin amounts can be obtained be eating fruits and vegetables every day.  So remember to get your fruits and veggies every day and consider supplementing with a high quality antioxidant formula.

Heather Whickett
NCNM Medical Intern
Northwest Natural Medicine Work Study

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