We all age. We all need antiaging antioxidants in our diet because they help us fight the abnormal effects of aging, such as disease, failing eyesight, wrinkles, etc.
Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals entering our bodies from cigarette smoke, exercise, smog, and various other environmental exposures that may otherwise destroy normal body cells.
Free radicals steal electrons from healthy cells and damage them. Their destructive action in the body accelerates the rate at which we age. Antioxidants are able to safely donate electrons to these free radicals, rendering them harmless.
Scientists have been able to isolate antioxidants, but experiments have shown they are more effective when used as nature prepares them (food sources) than scientifically prepared supplements (pills).
For example, taking a vitamin C pill is shown to be marginally effective when compared to eating an orange. A 500 mg. vitamin C tablet is less effective than an orange which has 50 mg. of vitamin C.
This is because of the phytochemicals in the food that enhance the body’s absorption and use of these nutrients. Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventative properties.
Plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves from their environment, and recent research demonstrates these properties can protect humans who consume them. These phytochemicals are not in synthetic vitamins.
Free radicals contribute to the onset of age-related diseases and antioxidants “neutralize” free radicals. Dr. Jeff Blumberg of Tufts University says “I always tell people that (consuming) antioxidants is like driving with a seatbelt on” (for protection).
Our genes determine 30% of aging; the remaining 70% is lifestyle driven, thus controlled by us through diet, the environment we choose to live in, etc.
Free radicals have been implicated in 20 age-related diseases, including cancer, heart and lung disease, Parkinson’s, and macular degeneration. Free radicals also attack elastin and collagen, the parts of our connective tissue that keep our skin moist and elastic. Loss of elasticity causes thinner, sagging skin and wrinkles, making us look older than we are.
Unfortunately, as we age chronologically, our diet (which is the key source of antioxidants) deteriorates appreciably, possibly due to decreased appetite.
Foods that score high in the antioxidant assay test called “oxygen radical absorbance capacity” (ORAC) protect cells and their components from damage by free radicals according to studies of animals and human blood.
ORAC scores measure the total antioxidant power of foods. Findings suggest that eating high ORAC scoring fruits and vegetables help slow the processes associated with aging in both body and brain.
Antioxidants preserve and protect our vision. Sun produced plant based phytochemicals, the healthy nutrients and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, help prevent, or greatly delay at the least, vision deterioration and many potentially devastating diseases of our eyes.
Antioxidants, abundantly found in fruits and vegetables, fight free radicals; with the higher ORAC scoring foods fighting free radicals to a larger degree.
The following are examples of ORAC scores per gram- the well known wild blueberry has an ORAC score of 260. The wild black raspberry has a score of 340. The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry has a score of 1026, making it the highest ORAC scorer known to date.
So it is extremely important to combat aging by eating a wide variety of brightly and differently colored fruits and vegetables. This is something only 17% of Americans do. What percentage are you in?