are essential to your body's defense against free radicals. There
is research now that shows antioxidant vitamins C, E and beta carotene
(the plant form of vitamin A) can help lower the risk of heart disease
and cancer by protecting you from free radicals.
There are free
formed in our bodies all the time. Free radicals are unstable
chemicals. Free radicals can attack
the cells of your body, affecting the
cardiovascular, neurological, and immune systems. They also attack and
destroy mitochondria — the cells that produce energy in the body. A
small amount of free radicals
are not a problem. Our body
produces its own batch of free radical eliminators called
“antioxidants” to seek out and destroy free radicals. We also get
small amounts of antioxidants from the foods we eat, such as certain
fresh fruits and vegetables.
when free radicals become too numerous. When our body fails to produce
enough antioxidants quickly enough — or additional free radicals are
created by high stress, poor diet, lack of sleep or environmental
toxins — healthy cells and tissues get damaged. Antioxidants inactivate
or destroy the free radicals
which damage cells,
blood vessel walls and start heart or other diseases.
vitamins C, E and beta carotene make free radicals harmless.
dark yellow fruits and vegetables are good sources of these vitamins.
are also other non-nutritient substances called indoles, phenols,
and isothiocyantes which are found in the same foods which are also
list below is arranged in order beginning with the item containing the
highest amount of the vitamin.
C - papaya, broccoli, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, strawberries,
sprouts, snow peas, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, asparagus, kiwi, green
peppers, fresh currants.
E - corn and wheat germ, sunflower seeds, assorted nuts,
oil, whole grain cereals, polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as
or corn oil.
CAROTENE - Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, winter
pumpkin, watercress, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, greens of beets,
mangoes, melons (cantaloupe), apricots, papayas, peaches, nectarines.
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