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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Eat Your Way to Good Health With Foods Rich in Antioxidants and Vitamins

There is much a person can do in the way of preventative health that can result in more affordable health care. Taking care of one's health can decrease out-of-pocket costs by cutting down on trips to the doctor, prescriptions and other medical care for illnesses that may have been prevented. Eating one's way to good health requires some basic knowledge of things like free radicals, antioxidants and vitamins.

Antioxidants, for example, are advertised everywhere in cereals, energy bars, sports drinks and processed foods. What are they? Why should people be concerned? Are they good or bad? And what's a free radical?

Free radicals are molecules that are produced when food turns to energy. Other free radicals are produced when your body uses oxygen or is exposed to sunlight. These free radicals sometimes are missing an electron and steal from other cells to get them. Antioxidants are molecules that work with free radicals and give them the needed electrons. However, this leaves the antioxidant cells weaker. Free radical damage has been linked to certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Antioxidants have the potential to offer some resistance to chronic illnesses. Foods rich in antioxidants include blueberries, cranberries, broccoli, yogurt, green tea, coffee, grape skins, ginger, garlic, even dark chocolate, red wine and popcorn. In addition, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc show results in protection against diseases. But they are more effective to the body when eaten in foods than in taking vitamins. For vitamin C, look for potatoes, broccoli, oranges, strawberries and cabbage. It also fights infection and increases immunity, which is why many people increase their vitamin C intake during the winter months.

Vitamin E can be found in wheat germ, soy beans, hazelnuts, olive oil, peanut butter, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, grapes, avocado, oats, barley, and free-range eggs. Foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, and fresh thyme. Zinc can be found in oysters, pumpkin seeds, veal liver, peanuts, crabs, lean beef and dark chocolate.

For best results, it is advised to eat vegetables raw or steamed. Bon Appetit, and good health!

DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.