Who would like to age prematurely? Most likely, nobody does. We all wish to look good forever… if it were possible. Unfortunately, we’re surrounded by internal and external pollutants that, little by little, make us age before time. These external pollutants are in the environment such as overexposure of the sun rays, tobacco and smog, dust and dirt.
The internal pollutants are those that are at our fingertips, such as the number of times we choose high fat, high salt and sugar diets. Or when stress damages our bodies because we haven’t learned relaxation techniques or ways to solve our daily problems with a calming attitude.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules that build up when we carry out normal activities, such as breathing – where oxygen is needed and vital to our survival. Too many free radicals in our body and throughout our life can cause negative effects that can alter our DNA (our genes) in our body.
These genetic changes can increase the likelihood of premature aging, of cancer or other chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. One way to decrease the quantity of free radicals in our body is the consumption of antioxidants.
What are antioxidants?
They are a group of vitamins, minerals, vegetable compounds that block the negative effects of these free radicals. The majority of antioxidants are found in plant source foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Where can we get antioxidants?
Vitamin C: In fresh fruits and vegetables, such as guayaba, kiwi, mango, pineapple, citrus, melon, strawberries.
Vitamin E (tocoferol): wheat germ, soy oil, whole grains, olive oil, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits.
Betacarotene or “provitamin A”: green and red-orange vegetables such as carrots, spinach, squash and certain fruits, such as cherries, melon.
Selenium: it is related to a decrease in skin, liver, colon and breast tumors. It’s found in meats, fish, seafood, eggs, fruits and vegetables.
Zinc: it helps build new protein and protects against free radical formation. It’s found in meats and organs, fish, eggs, whole grain cereals and legumes.