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Blog posts tagged with 'antioxidants'

Combat Oxidative Stress With Antioxidants

We hear that antioxidants are good for us, but the reasons why are not always clear. Free radicals and oxidative stress are some of the most important terms to learn when it comes to antioxidants. For your nutrition, these little fighters can make or break the balance that is your health. But how do they work, and where can you get your antioxidants in the first place?

Getting the Details on Oxidative Stress

The body constantly goes through a process called oxidation. It metabolizes the oxygen that we breathe in, which helps the cells produce energy. However, along with energy, free-radicals are also created. As they make contact with the molecules within the cells, it can result in damage to the mitochondria, our DNA, and other cells nearby.

Free radicals, however, can be useful to the body. Though they may cause damage, they also stimulate repair in the cells, vital for keeping your health in good balance. It’s when free radicals are produced too quickly that it can become a hazard to the body, resulting in more damaged cells than healthy, repaired ones. This is called oxidative stress, when oxidation is far outweighing the balance of your health.

Oxidation itself can occur for several reasons: When your cells use glucose for energy, when your immune system fights off bacteria, and when the body detoxifies pollutants. Yet, when your body is stressed, physically or emotionally, this can increase oxidation. This can be caused by outside pollution, cigarette smoking, alcoholic consumption, and infection. Once the amount of free radicals produced outnumber the antioxidants in your body, it becomes oxidative stress.

Do You Have Oxidative Stress?

The signs of oxidative stress can vary, but some of the most common include:

  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle or joint discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Wrinkles and grey hair
  • Worsening eye sight

To avoid oxidative stress, you need to avoid unnecessary oxidation. Stress can increase the frequency of the oxidation process, along with sugary and processed foods, as the cells produce energy with the help of sugar/glucose. It is also important to increase your consumption of antioxidants, which help block oxidation. While antioxidants are naturally present in your body, you can get them from outside sources to help regain the balance.

The Power of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the molecules in your body that fight back against free radicals, neutralizing the damage they cause. They do so by giving electrons to the free radicals, which prevents them from causing any more harm. When there’s not enough antioxidants, free radicals can run rampant, causing constant damage to the cells.

Combat Oxidantive Stress With AntioxidantsWhile the human body generates antioxidants, like glutathione, you can get your fill from foods and supplements. Some famous antioxidants are Vitamin C and E, which you can find most in plant-based food, usually of the berry variety.

Some antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Dark chocolate

Certain meat products and fish also have antioxidants in them, though smaller than what is usually found in fruits and vegetables. They are also present in beverages such as tea, and even coffee.

OxyPlus, an Antioxidant-Rich Supplement

A balance of antioxidants is what your body needs to stay healthy and functioning. OxyPlus provides that with its unique blend of ingredients, such as the familiar Vitamin C and Vitamin E, along with the unique Oxyplex blend. Extracts from red wine, green tea and grape seed help make up the blend, creating a fortified supplement that delivers the necessary antioxidants to your body. To beat the oxidative stress, antioxidants are the key to de-stressing, giving your cells the protection it needs.

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The Missing Part to a Balanced Diet

Fruits and VegetablesAre You Eating Enough Fruits and Veggies?

As adults, it’s time to take responsibility – and realize that our parents may have been onto something when they said to finish our greens. Unfortunately, too many have us haven’t taken that advice to heart. Recent studies have shown that only 1 in 10 Americans meet the federal fruit and vegetable recommendations. You usually need 1½ to 2 cups per day for fruit and 2 to 3 cups for vegetables. Yet only 9% of adults eat enough vegetables, and 12% even get enough fruit. If you’re one of those adults skipping past the salad bar, it’s time to take action.

The Missing Part to a Balanced Diet

There’s a reason you should care about fruits and vegetables. Many important vitamins and minerals are in these food types more than others. Potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate are just some of the more common nutrients that you can mainly get from plant-based food, and are beneficial to the body. For example, potassium can help maintain blood pressure. Folate builds up the red blood cells while helps stave off birth defects in pregnant women. Vitamin A promotes healthier eyes and skin, vitamin E protects from free-radicals, and vitamin C supports healthier gums and helps the body absorb iron. 

One other vital nutrient is fiber, and you get plenty of that from fruits and vegetables. Fiber is perfect for weight management, as it helps you feel full faster, while also lowering your blood cholesterol. It is also important for a healthy digestive system for regular bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables are also quite low in fat, sodium and calories, another great use for weight management.

But perhaps one of the most important aspects of this food group is their richness in phytonutrients – which are certain extracts that are only available in fruits and vegetables. 

Getting Your Share of PhytonutrientsFruits and Vegetables

Phytonutrients are known as the protective effects on fruits and vegetables, and many have shown their worth in helping ward off health complications in our own bodies. These phytonutrients are what gives fruits and vegetables their taste, scent and color. As many work like antioxidants, fruits and vegetables can very well protect your body from free-radicals and keep your cells healthy. Some examples of phytonutrients are:

Carotenoids: Present in carrots, broccoli and spinach, carotenoids are antioxidants that give these foods their bright colors. This phytonutrient is a boon to the immune system, while also showing positive impact for good eye health. 

Capsaicin: Peppers are rich in this nutrient and have shown benefits in reducing clotting for better heart health.

Curcumin: A phytonutrient that is rich in the turmeric spice. It is an anti-inflammatory agent, as well as antioxidant, that is commonly used in joint health.



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Stay Up on Skin Health This Summer with These Super Foods

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Stay Up on Skin Health This Summer with These Super FoodsThe start of summer is upon us and with it comes the opportunity to enjoy trips to the beach, picnics, hikes, and other fun outdoor activities. If you plan on soaking in the sun and getting that tanned look or if you're outside for any other reason, remember to pay attention to skin health. Protection against UV rays is important and you should carry sunscreen with you at all times to avoid serious burns. There are, however, some super foods that can also help protect and support the health of your skin from the inside.

Add Some Antioxidants to the Mix

Fruits and summertime go together like wine and cheese. Besides being great for hydration, fruits can provide other nutrients that are beneficial to skin health. Watermelon, for instance, is made up of 90% water and great for those hot afternoons in the sun. But it also contains vitamin C, which is crucial for your body's continuous production of collagen—the main building block of skin cells. Vitamin C's antioxidant and immune support properties make it the perfect weapon against free radicals that can cause oxidative damage to skin and other organs. Berries can be another go-to source for preventing oxidative damage to your skin. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries…take your juicy pick. These antioxidant-rich summer soldiers can provide your body—and especially your skin—protection against free radicals. If citrus fruits are more along your line of taste, you can also get your fill of vitamin C from oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. Squeeze the latter two into your water to not only enjoy a refreshing drink, but an extra splash of vitamin C and its collagen-building benefits. Some of these citrus fruits also have other collagen-producing ingredients such as the amino acids proline and lysine that can promote firmer and more supple-looking skin. Not to be outdone, pineapples contain a compound called bromelain. Studies have found that bromelain helps ease inflammation, which may come in handy if you are experiencing any discomfort from sunburn.

Are They Fruits or Vegetables?

While there may be some debate whether tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits or vegetables (technically, they are fruits because they bear seeds) there is no debate about their health benefits, especially for your skin. Tomatoes contain lycopene which has been shown to help stave off unwanted lines and wrinkles. It, too, is another helper in the collagen-production area. The use of cucumber in facial treatments is no fluke either. Made vastly of water, cucumbers can hydrate and replenish skin, and reduce puffiness and inflammation, especially around the eyes. Cucumbers are another powerful ally in the fight against free radicals, which can bring on unwanted blemishes and other age-related skin damage.

Vegetables, Omegas, and the Power of the Coconut

Fruits aren't the only foods that can give you super skin. Vegetables such as dandelion greens contain a healthy amount of vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant agent in the free-radical battle that can help you avoid unwanted skin damage caused by oxidative stress. Spinach and oily fish such as salmon also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which regulate your skin's oil production, giving it that natural, healthy-looking glow. Want to create a super skin-supporting meal? Whip up a salad of dandelion greens, berries, and cucumbers. For protein, add salmon. And don't forget to wash it down with coconut water, an amazing, hydrating drink containing powerful electrolytes and potassium which can help deliver more nutrients to your skin by supporting circulation. If you're going to be outdoors this summer, make sure you give your skin the proper support. With these super foods you can not only get the nutrients your body craves daily, but the valuable skin protection needed to keep your skin look healthy and youthful. Enjoy the summer season the right way today!

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Why This Popular Beverage May Also Support Good Health

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Why This Popular Beverage May Also Support Good HealthFor many people a cup of coffee is part of the morning routine with its warming aroma, taste and also, for a quick burst of energy to start the day. But many studies have shown that there's more to coffee than just caffeine. Unroasted green coffee beans contain plant compounds called chlorogenic acid that have been found to possess antioxidant health properties. Although the process of roasting tends to decrease chlorogenic acid levels, recent research has shown that the amount of chlorogenic acid present in coffee can still provide several health advantages.

The Eye Test of Antioxidants

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists discovered that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee may help promote a stronger resistance to oxidative stress in the retina, preserving eye sight and protecting it from macular degeneration. The retina is said to be one of the most metabolically active tissues; it needs high levels of oxygen to function, which can make it more prone to oxidative stress. To test the protective effects of chlorogenic acid, a group of mice were treated with a substance which can generate oxidative stress and damaging free radicals. In the group of mice that were given chlorogenic acid pre-treatment, no retinal damage was found. "The study is important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects," said Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science and the study's senior author. "Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are attempting to understand what benefit we can get from that," Lee said.

The Green Side of Healthy Weight Management

While chlorogenic acid's retinal protection properties may be news, it is not the most well-known benefit that can come from coffee, or more specifically unroasted coffee beans. For some time, researchers have studied chlorogenic acid's positive effects in managing weight, metabolism, and blood sugar levels. At the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Joe Vinson, Ph.D., presented findings from his numerous studies highlighting the benefits of chlorogenic acid. In a weight management study, for example, Vinson gave green coffee bean extract to a group of overweight volunteers over a 22-week period. After 22 weeks the subjects lost 10% of their body weight. In a more recent study Vinson sought to further investigate the effects that different doses of chlorogenic acid had on 56 adults with normal blood sugar levels. All volunteers were subjected to blood glucose tolerance tests to see how their bodies normally reacted to the sugar. Following the blood sugar tests they were administered various doses (100, 200, 300, or 400 mg) of green coffee bean extract containing chlorogenic acid. Yet again, Vinson found that green coffee bean extract supplementation produced effective results. "There was a significant dose-response effect of the green coffee extract and no apparent gastrointestinal side effects," Vinson said. "All doses of green coffee bean extract produced a significant reduction in blood sugar relative to the original blank glucose challenge."

Perk Up Your Health with Green Coffee Beans

The antioxidant properties of CLA found in green coffee beans have been shown to help protect eye health, but the benefits don't stop there. It's also been clinically shown to promote weight management and balanced blood sugar. As more research and studies are conducted, other potential health benefits of green coffee beans may also be uncovered, so keep your eyes open for future developments.

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A Healthy Smile May Reveal More About Your Health Than You Realize

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A Healthy Smile May Reveal More About Your Health Than You RealizeWhen it comes to oral health and hygiene, there’s a universal understanding that it’s important to brush and floss twice daily to protect against cavities. But did you know that research has suggested that your oral health mirrors the health of your whole body? The mouth-body relationship can influence your heart and digestion, as well as your immune system, so the condition of your teeth could indicate the state of your overall health.

Oral Care Beyond the Brush

Proper care for your teeth and gums doesn’t just come from brushing and flossing twice a day; there are many essential vitamins and minerals that can help you keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones you can supplement into your daily nutrition.

Calcium

Universally known as vital to forming and maintaining healthy bones, calcium can also help strengthen your teeth and your jaw bone where your teeth are set. It is vital for people no matter what their age or gender to get the recommended daily amount of calcium to continue maintaining healthy bone density. Milk is the most well-known source of calcium, but collard greens, tofu, and supplements are also good non-dairy sources of calcium.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is just important as calcium for strong bones and teeth because it helps your body absorb calcium. Your body produces vitamin D when your skin cells are exposed to sunlight, but if you spend a lot of time indoors you may need to supplement additional vitamin D into your diet, both for you oral and overall health.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help reduce inflammation and protect your teeth and gums. It is also crucial to supporting a healthy immune system and helps to form strong connective tissue as well as teeth and gum tissue. Vitamin C is also water soluble, so any excess gets flushed out of your body. It is recommended that people take vitamin C every day, but if you’re getting your vitamin C from fruit juices, limit yourself to 1 glass of juice per day because citric acid in fruit juices can actually wear down tooth enamel.

Water

Water might be the most underrated liquid on the planet. This building block of life, however, also provides oral health benefits. Water helps keep the mouth hydrated by stimulating saliva flow, which cleans your mouth by neutralizing bacteria. It’s recommended that you drink 8 glasses of water a day.

A Few Minutes a Day

Oral hygiene is a lifelong task. But it is one of the easiest tasks you can do to support your well-being. Proper brushing and daily flossing, as well as regular dental checkups can ensure that you will enjoy a healthy smile throughout your life. But there are also foods you can eat between brushing to give your oral health the extra boost needed for a bright and healthier smile.


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