The body’s own immune system, if sufficiently strengthened with good diet and boosted by antioxidants can resist attacks of cold, flu and any other illnesses.

What are antioxidants?

Our body consists of 100 trillion cells. Every cells need to respire to obtain energy in order to function. One of the by-products of the respiration process is free radicals.

Free radicals are actually harmful to our body because it is very unstable and cause a lot of damage to the cells. This is called oxidative stress and it can lead to degenerative and chronic diseases.

Today’s stressful lifestyle, polluted environment, over medication produces more free radical than the last generation. So, our body is constantly subjected to stress. It is estimated that each of our cells undergoes 10,000 free-radical hits per day!

Anti-oxidants are substances that protect your cells against the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress. They deactivate the free radicals in the body

The more anti-oxidants you consume, the better it is for the body. A high quality balance diet should include 8-12 portions of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to provide the required anti-oxidants for the body.

Types of antioxidants

1) Carotenoids

They are produced by plant to counter the attack of the sun. They can be found in carrot, sweet potato, spinach, and kale

2) Flavonoids

These are phytochemical from water-soluble colors of vegetables and fruits. Flavonoids from red grapes are more than 1000 times powerful than vitamin E.  Other food rich in flavonoids are green tea, onion, lettuce, garlic, cabbage and kale.

3) Isoflavonoids

Isoflavonoids are converted to phytoestrogen in the body and help inhibit hormone dependent cancer. They lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Soy based food such as tofu, miso, soybean are rich in isoflavonoids

4) Vitamins

Vitamin A, E and C are potent anti-oxidants. Some carotenoids are converted into vitamin A. So, food rich is carotenoids will have vitamin A. Vitamin C is readily available from citrus fruits. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ oil, almond, sunflower seeds, spinach and broccoli.

5) Co-enzyme Q

Co-enzyme is a well-established anti-oxidant that protect cell from damage. It is found in every cell and provides the cells with energy to effectively carry out the functions. Dairy, eggs, meat are rich in co-enzyme Q.

6) Superoxide dismutase

Superoxide dismutase is particularly powerful in the skin tissue revitalizing cells and reducing the rate of cell destruction. It helps the body to use essential zinc, copper and manganese. This is an enzyme and is found also in barley grass, cabbage, and wheat grass.

7) Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is made in the body and found in every cell in the body. It is known as the universal antioxidant as it enhances the activities of other antioxidants. ALA is found in small amount in spinach, broccoli, peas and potato.

8) Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain. It helps to maintain the body natural rhythm and prevent oxidative damage to brain cells. Small amount of melatonin is found in oats, ginger, banana, tomato and barley

The World Health Organization recommends eating a minimum of  7 portions of colorful fruits and vegetables each day. This will provide the body with sufficient amount of anti-oxidants.

However, it is a challenge to achieve this in our busy working lifestyle. So, I would recommend taking regular daily dose of anti-oxidant supplements to make up for the deficiency.

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