Before we begin discussing antioxidants, you must first understand “free radicals.” Free radicals are the natural enemy of antioxidants and are by-products of us living. Our bodies produce them when our cells use oxygen. So the very essence of life, oxygen, eventually causes cell damage!
Free radicals move around in our bodies as unstable molecules looking for a way to stabilize. To do this, they have to borrow an electron from a stable molecule. The trouble begins here as that destroys the stable molecule, and damages our system. The result of this can be minor to severe. The breakdown of healthy cells is believed to be the root of many diseases, and, of course, premature aging. Enter, antioxidants, the superhero in the fight against those nasty scavenger free radicals!
The word “antioxidant” sounds intimidating. When I ask friends and coworkers to describe what an antioxidant is, they all fall a little short in their description. But, they all know antioxidants are good for you and keep you healthy. The following is a brief and accurate description so when I ask you what an antioxidant is, I will get a good answer.
“Antioxidant” is the collective name for the vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols that protect the body from harmful free radicals. They encompass vitamins, minerals, and a host of nutrients. Many of you have heard me refer to the process of aging as the equivalency of rusting. Oxygen causes metal to oxidize or rust. We must treat it to protect against it or metal can have a very short lifespan.
Think of a metal bike chain. If you keep it well lubricated and don’t let it get rusty, it will last years longer! Our bodies are no different. Our bodies need antioxidants because they nat-urally destroy free radicals. So, in essence, antioxidants help us preserve healthy cells and can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Your grandmother knew that fruits, vegetables, and legumes were just naturally good for you. But what she did not know was exactly why. And now in this multimedia era, there really is no excuse for all of us not to be somewhat educated on this important subject.
The next question you are probably asking yourself is, OK, what foods contain these amazing nutrients? The quick and simple answer takes us right back to eating a healthy diet that contains at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Not only are you getting a powerful boost of antioxidants to protect your health when you eat this way, but you’re benefiting your health with fiber and other nutrients that your body needs.
But if you want to kick up the dose and have a little extra insurance that you have plenty of troops in your war against free radicals, then here are some tips on maximizing your antioxidant levels. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A and carotenoids, two valuable antioxidants. Vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits, broccoli, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables. Green leafy vegetables along with whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetable, and liver oil contain the antioxidant vitamin E.
Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits. They’re packed with antioxidants and are low in calories! I drink two shakes a day with one cup of frozen wild blueberries in each shake. Below is my simple recipe for a delicious antioxidant protein shake featuring blueberries. Just mix it up in a blender and enjoy!
- 12 oz of water or light cranberry juice
- 1 cup wild blueberries
- 1 oz of Max Vit-Acell Liquid Vitamins
- 1 scoop of MaxPro All Natural Vanilla protein
Be sure to stop by your local Max Muscle Nutrition store and ask one of our Certified Fitness Nutrition Coaches for more information on healthy Max Muscle shakes.
By Joe Wells, CEO, Max Muscle Nutrition