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I am sure that at some point in your life you have heard of the term anti-oxidant before.  You have even heard that they are really good for you and that you should be eating foods high in anti-oxidants.  But what are they and what foods should you be eating?

Your body, all of our bodies, are constantly under attack from our environment.  It was once explained to me that "Everyone who drinks, smokes, exercises or breathes air needs to take anit-oxidants".  Each of those puts some sort of free radical into the system and anti-oxidants specifically prop-up the part of our immune system that fights free radicals.

A free radical is a foreign body that can cause damage to cells within the body.  You get free radicals from doing almost anything.  Breath air that has pollution, congrats you now have free radicals.  Exercise, yep, you now have damaged some cells in your body that are considered free radicals.  Smoking is pretty obvious, right?  Have some alcohol, you just did enough damage to create free radicals.  Guess what happens if you go for a jog on a hot day, and then chill out in the evening with a couple of Margaritas?  Tons of free radicals.

These damaged cells float through your body and are all screwed up.  If they were originally your cells they are now damaged at the DNA level.  These bad boys are not what they once were but the bad part is that they can still reproduce and that is essentially where cancer comes from.  I know that this sounds extreme but it isn't.  We are talking about millions of cells that our body is trying to dispose of, and you can see how it could easily begin to start missing some and letting them do their damage.

Anti-oxidants are the support for your immune systems ability to fight these hell raising free radicals.  Anti-oxidants are essentially vitamins and minerals, but more than that they are specific vitamins and minerals.

You can take an Anti-oxidant supplemental pill and that is not a bad way to go.  Just remember that all supplements are not created equally so make sure that you do some research before you go investing in a crappy product.  You will even find that lots of aware supplement companies add them into their protein shakes or bars!  For those of us who want to eat our anti-oxidants there is good news.  The foods that are high in anti-oxidants are usually easy to put into our diet and often they even taste pretty good.

Vitamins A, C and E are natural vitamins with strong anti-oxidant properties.  They are found in foods like dark green, orange and yellow veggies, sweet citrus fruits, most berries, many nuts and green leafy veggies.

The list of different anti-oxidants goes on and on, and on.  Here is a quick list of anti-oxidant rich seasonings and spices that you should consider adding to your foods:
clove, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cumin, parsley, basil, curry powder, mustard seed, ginger, pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic, coriander, onion, cardamom. Typical herbs are sage, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, peppermint, oregano, savory, basil and dill weed

Also, there are additional high benefit anti-oxidants that you don't want to miss out on like alpha lipoic acid.  It is found in high quantities in foods such as grass fed red meats and organ meats.  This specific anti-oxidant is used as:
  • A great modifier of gene expression to reduce inflammation
  • A very potent heavy metal chelator
  • An enhancer of insulin sensitivity 
So not only can anti-oxidants keep help keep you from getting cancer, they can keep your skin looking younger, help avoid and fight diabetes, avoid joint and muscle pain and inflammation, and much more.  If you find that you have chronic ANYTHING it would be a good idea to incorporate anti-oxidants into your life at a much higher level.  Even if you don't feel sick it is a good idea to get these good nutrients into your body to keep you feeling good.  They are in lots of our foods so just figure which foods you eat have them and eat just a little more of them and a little less of the other.  You will also notice that these healthy goods tend to be low calorie so this lifestyle will also help you lose some pounds!

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