Antioxidants are nutrient rich molecules that boost the body's defense system against free radicals. These molecules or nutrients are in the foods we eat and they prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc, are all contributed to by oxidative damage. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.

You are probably wondering where to get these important substances. The easiest and the best way of course is through the foods you eat. Some of the more commonly known antioxidant rich foods are the vitamin A or carotenoid group better known as carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, peaches,cantaloupe, and apricots (bright-colored fruits and vegetables!) Then there is the vitamin C group also better known as citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc, bell peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes. Last but not least the vitamin E and selenium group with foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fish, shellfish, lean red meat, eggs, chicken and garlic. Other foods rich in antioxidants are oatmeal, flax seed and barley. Always look for brightly colored fruits and vegetables like the yellow in corn, yellow bell pepper or the deep orange in cantaloupe, butternut squash and mango, the red from lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon or the deep blues, purples or reds in berries.

So enjoy eating a variety of these foods. It is best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of supplements, but if you are not getting enough antioxidants in your diet then I do recommend adding supplements to your daily regimen. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant which protects against the harmful effects of free radicals. Vitamin C assists in the formation of collagen, which is important for the health of blood vessels and gums, development of bones and teeth, wound healing, resist infection, preventing and treating the common cold, has been found to decrease risk of cancer, heart disease, cataracts, and other diseases.

Co-enzyme Q10 is another antioxidant with important powers. Co-enzyme Q10 is considered a non-essential nutrient as it can be synthesized by our bodies. It is used by our bodies to produce energy. It also acts as an antioxidant protecting us from free radical damage. Its antioxidant effects are similar to those of vitamin E. Some studies also suggested that Co-enzyme Q10 stimulates the immune system.

Take these recommended antioxidants as directed and check with your doctor first to make sure they are safe with medications or other prescribed supplements.

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