The many benefits of antioxidants have been well documented over recent years. Antioxidants have been promoted as anti-aging, anti heart disease, repairing cell damage, scavenging up free radicals, fighting off cancers, and preventing many other disorders. We have all been told that consuming antioxidants will make us look younger, feel younger, and increase our longevity.
As a result of this, the promotion and sale of antioxidant supplements have risen dramatically. Until recently, everybody assumed that taking antioxidant supplements would benefit their health. However, recent medical studies have shown that antioxidant supplements, as opposed to natural antioxidants found in foods, may actually be a danger to your health.
While there is no health problems associated with eating naturally found antioxidants in foods, it would appear that exceeding the daily recommended doses of supplemented, or synthetic, Vitamins A and E, and beta carotene can be extremely detrimental to your health. Vitamin C and selenium, which are also considered to be antioxidants do not appear to be detrimental.
These highly regarded US medical authorities have the following to say about synthetic antioxidants:
The Mayo Clinic website: “… There’s no proof that antioxidants in pill form can improve your general health or extend your life. In fact, they can have the opposite effect.”
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) does not advise antioxidant supplements due to long term safety concerns and insufficient evidence to prove their effectiveness.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends obtaining antioxidants from food sources, and not from synthetic supplements.
Maximum daily recommendations of supplements are 1000mg Vitamin C, 800 micrograms Vitamin A, 540 mg Vitamin E, and 350 micrograms selenium.
However, there is even more ongoing medical research to suggest that consuming antioxidants in their natural form is extremely beneficial for your health. These foods listed below are well known for containing naturally high levels of antioxidants.
* Fruits high in antioxidants include: blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, apples (especially Granny Smith, gala, and red delicious), dates, cherries, peaches, figs, oranges, apricots, pears, mango, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, pineapple, and grapefruit. Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, raisins, apples, and peaches are also rich in antioxidants.
* Vegetables high in antioxidants are: artichokes, broccoli, carrots, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, beetroot, avocado, lettuce, sweet potato, squash, potatoes, brussel sprouts, kale, peppers, spinach, parsley, eggplant, and corn.
* Nuts are a great source of antioxidants: almonds, cashews, macadamia, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachio, and pecans.
* Beans high in antioxidants include: kidney, black-eyed peas, red, black, and pinto.
* Beverages such as tea and green tea are well documented as being rich in antioxidants. Just remember that the minute you add milk the antioxidants are lost. Other drinks include juices such as pink grapefruit, pomegranate, tomato, apple, and cider. The great news is that beer and red wine also contain antioxidants (always remember to drink your alcohol in moderation).
* Other foods including oats, legumes, barley, and sunflower seeds are also great for antioxidants.
Antioxidants can be found in many forms and varieties of foods. Look for fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables for the highest levels of antioxidants. If you are concerned about the health benefits of antioxidant supplements, why not consume antioxidants in their natural form? Fresh quality foods are always going to be better for your health than something out of a bottle which is synthetic and manufactured.