USDA research indicates that the best antioxidants come not in a pill, but in fresh vegetables and fruits. What are the diseases that antioxidants ward against, and what are some of the top foods with antioxidants?
Antioxidants in your blood track down free radicals. As your body ages, it has more and more trouble dealing with the free radicals. If left loose in your blood, the free radicals damage cell DNA and cause a myriad of health issues.
Natural antioxidants have been found to help fight off Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. They can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, or age-related blindness, by 25%, as reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
Researchers gave their study members a diet high in fruits and vegetables - ten servings a day. They found that after only two weeks, the blood of the study members had increased its ability to handle free radicals.
A similar study by the John Hopkins institute in Maryland found the same results, using 8 to 10 servings of vegetables a day.
While pharmacies were quick to pump out a pill form of the antioxidants when research first began on vitamins C and E, subsequent studies have shown that eating the natural foods provide far more health benefits than eating a pill form. Researchers theorize that the pills do not necessarily have all of the key components provided by the vegetables.
For example, research done by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation on 220,000 people in various heart studies found that taking Vitamin E pills provided no heart-related benefits at all.
There is still so much we do not understand about how substances work in the body and just what combination is required. It took us a while, for example, to realize that calcium and Vitamin D had to be taken together in order to work properly. You can't just take a calcium supplement. You have to have the two of them in combination. Most foods naturally provide the combination needed for a given substance, while isolating down to a particular nutrient loses that proper pairing.
So do your best to get ample healthy vegetables into you each day!