Antioxidants for Heart Health
Every day, our bodies go through a normal process called oxidation which is what happens when oxygen comes in contact with another substance-in this case the body’s living tissue. While this process is necessary and inevitable, it also results in the production of molecules with unpaired electrons, known as free radicals. These free radicals can cause unhealthy changes in the body.
Free radicals are produced when food is broken down or as a result from exposure to environmental pollutants, radiation and tobacco smoke. Free radicals may alter the coronary vessels in a way that leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Free radicals may damage cells and even contribute to heart disease.
Antioxidants are vitamins and other compounds contained in foods that help prevent or fight this harmful oxidative process that produces free radicals. Antioxidant properties may also be found in vitamins A, C and E as natural substances that exist as vitamins, minerals, and other compounds in foods. Without adequate amounts of antioxidants, free radicals are able to travel throughout the body and damage cells.
To help reduce your risk, it’s important to:
- Quit smoking and using tobacco products
- Manage your blood pressure and diabetes
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat (partially hydrogenated fats), cholesterol, sodium, and refined sugar.
- Eat foods high in fiber and nutrients
- Exercise regularly
- Manage stress
- Limit alcohol intake
Antioxidants are easy to add to your daily routine through foods and supplements. There are also supplements that combine Vitamins A, C, E and some of the “Superfruits” such as Acai Berry, Goji, Noni, and Mangosteen. Berries are a wonderful source of antioxidants. Every fruit and vegetable contains a wide variety of different antioxidants. These nutrients are designed by nature to work together in your body, and research studies have shown that antioxidants are much more powerful when they are consumed in combinations.
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, so those who adhere to this kind of diet may reduce their risk of heart disease. So eating a diet high in antioxidants benefits a person’s health in many ways. Other great sources of antioxidants include herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, cloves, and cinnamon. CoQ10 is an all natural potent antioxidant and Green Tea contains antioxidants as well. So be heart healthy today and find support through antioxidants and lifestyle changes.