What happens if you don’t get any antioxidants?  It’s not like you’re a car that rusts over time and needs constant oiling, right?  Actually, our bodies toil away each and every day to keep us healthy; but at the same time there are mischievous (and naturally occurring) little things called free radicals that slow us down, cause us to age and even cause certain diseases.  Antioxidants, which are naturally found in some foods and other substances, can help neutralize the free radicals that our bodies produce.  If you’re still unsure about why you should take antioxidants, here are five good reasons for you.

Control Disease
Those pesky free radicals keep popping up!  Our body naturally produces free radicals – it’s a natural part of the basic metabolic process.  The problem arises when there are too many free radicals and too little antioxidants to even things out.  Some diseases you may have heard of have been linked to overabundance of free radicals: heart disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer . . . just to name a few.  We absolutely need free radicals to survive (they help kill off invading bacteria), but any excess could spell trouble.

If you eat like most other Americans, your diet likely consists partially of high-fat foods and processed meals.  Many of the unhealthy foods we eat are unhealthy because they contain high amounts of calories and fat, and low amounts of the “good things” we need in our body.  One of the good things those foods lack is antioxidants. Not only that, but they cause our bodies to produce excessive amounts of free radicals, which is obviously not a great combination.  By eating more fruits and vegetables, which are great sources of antioxidants, you can make sure you’re getting enough of the “ammo” to fight off those dangerous free radicals.

You Smoke or Drink Alcohol or Coffee
If you are a fan of coffee, alcohol, smoking, or all three, you could benefit from a few extra veggies in your diet.  All three of these substances inhibit the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients and vitamins.  They will also cause a significant boost to the number of free radicals in your body.  In fact, just a single cigarette can generate over 1 quadrillion free radicals.

You Seem to be Aging Too Fast
Free radicals cause degeneration in our cells, and after a while can begin to speed up the aging process.  Antioxidants have been shown to improve brain and muscle function, and can lower the risk of developing degenerative diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

You Want to Ease Stress
Do you remember a time when being stressed out left you feeling tired and dull?  While emotions do come from the mind, they affect our bodies.  Stress and other mental suffering produce cortisol, which stays in our blood for many hours and produces large amounts of free radicals.  Ease the stress by taking in more antioxidants.  If you like to drink some red wine to relax, it’s because it contains a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol.  For the great feeling without the headache, try eating peanuts – this food contains much more resveratrol than red wine, and only a few tablespoons will give you plenty of antioxidants while keeping you feeling full.

And if you don’t feel you’re getting enough antioxidant power through the foods you eat, you can always look into supplements that contain antioxidants as well. Just make sure you’re getting  “bang for your buck” with supplements that contain the highest levels.

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