Jun 12, 2016

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Medical Corner – Antioxidants

Medical Corner by Morgan Hahn, Captain   Antioxidants We are constantly hearing about antioxidants and our health; but what exactly are they and what are the benefits? Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals that protect our bodies from damage done by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that attack our bodies' healthy cells, and can weaken our immune systems. Research shows free radicals can contribute to development of cancer, cataracts, cardiovascular disease, brain dysfunction, and more. Therefore, antioxidants may help maintain ideal health and well-being. The following contains the SEVEN major reasons to make foods high in antioxidants a part of your daily intake: 1. Antioxidants boast brain function - Studies have shown that consumption of vitamins C and E can lead to better cognitive function and a reduced risk of dementia. 2. Decreases oxidative stress - cigarette smoke, pollution, drugs, illness, high stress, and sometimes intense exercise can increase exposure to oxidative stress. 3. Help to prevent cancer - Lab evidence demonstrates that certain antioxidants may slow, or even prevent cancer development. 4. Keeps our eyes healthy - Studies have shown that a combination of certain antioxidants, including Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene helped to prevent severe and age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65. 5. Help lung function - Studies show that lung function improved once blood levels of antioxidants increased. The antioxidants that make the strongest impact were beta-cryptoxanthin and vitamin E. 6. Hair growth - Antioxidants improve hair growth by helping maintain the collagen, or the hair follicles' connective tissue. It also protects the cells in the blood vessels of the scalp to create healthy hair growth. 7. Healthy skin - Research suggests the flavonoids in green tea and in dark chocolate can help protect the skin from inflammation and cancer. Studies have shown that women who were treated with green tea extract were more protected against negative sunlight exposure, as opposed to those that were not. To naturally consume antioxidants, eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Foods high in antioxidants are often vibrant in color, and include berries, pears, plums, apples, cabbage, all potatoes, nuts, dark chocolate, and nutrient-rich juices. Add fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to oatmeal, soups, salads, sandwiches, spaghetti sauce, yogurt. Eat healthy and improve your health, a win/win experience.   References: www.hsph.harvard.edu www.garnierusa.com

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