All About Antioxidants

Antioxidants have been in the public eye since the 1990s, and still make headlines today. You can oftentimes see foods advertising “with antioxidant” or “strong heart antioxidant cereal.” So what’s the buzz about antioxidants?

Antioxidants are a group of foods that prevent damage to the body against free radicals. They do this by giving electrons to the  free radicals. If antioxidants did not give electrons to these free radicals, the free radicals would take electrons from nearby body cells. Stealing from the body’s cell would kill the cell or change the DNA in that cell. When the body’s cells are weakened or damaged, the body is that more susceptible to chronic conditions, such as certain cancers and heart disease.

Harvard’s School of Public Health concludes that consuming whole fruits, vegetables, and grains (not antioxidant supplements) can provide protection against certain chronic diseases.

Antioxidants can be found naturally in foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. The three major sources of antioxidants come from vitamins Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Vitamins are not the only source of antioxidants; minerals (Zinc and Selenium) and other super food are also rich in antioxidants.

  • Beta-Carotene: Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, sweet potato, russet potato, carrots, green peppers, kale, beets, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and more
  • Vitamin C: All berries, papaya, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, oranges, snow peas, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, and more
  • Vitamin E: chard, nuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and more
  • Zinc: beans, nuts, seafood, oysters, whole grains, and more
  • Selenium: Nuts, certain breads, grains, tuna, and other meats
  • Other Super Food: apples, prunes, raisins, pears, plumes, red grapes, alfalfa sprouts, onions, eggplant, and beans

*For more food rich in antioxidants visit WedMD (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health)

References

Eat Right. (2013). Antioxidants. Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6792

Harvard School of Public Health. (2013). Antioxidants:  Beyond the Hype. Retrieved from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/#the%20bottom%20line%20on%20antioxidants

Kellogg’s. (2013). Kellogg’s Smart Start Antioxidants cereal. Retrieved from http://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/kelloggs-smart-start-strong-heart-antioxidants-cereal.html

Mayo Clinic. (2011, May 4). Slide Show:  Add Antioxidants to your Diet. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antioxidants/MY01593

WedMD. (2012, July 2). Antioxidants and Your Immune System:  Super Food for Optimal Health. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health

Obesity: The Overnight Epidemic

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially declared obesity as a disease. Although other groups have previously identified obesity as a disease, having the AMA do so will hopefully change the way this condition is confronted.

What is Obesity?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, as obese. BMI is calculated using a person’s height and weight. The link below will calculate your BMI for you.

Click Here to Calculate your BMI

In the United States, over 33% of people fall into the “obese” category. To put this into perspective, this means roughly 110 million people can now be diagnosed with this “new” disease.

In the past ten years, obesity rates have increased 50%. Many experts believe at this current rate more than 42% of the U.S. population will be considered obese by 2030. Actions need to be taken today to improve the quality of life for these people.

Solutions?

The hope with the AMA finally recognizing obesity as a disease is that actions will now be taken to reduce the prevalence.

The Obesity Action Coalition has been working on the passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2013. This act would offers healthcare workers tools to reduce obesity, including weight-loss counseling for patients and new medicines for weight management. The act also advocates more research and outreach programs.

Achieving a healthy weight includes a well-balanced diet and regular exercising.

Check back every week for more tips and tricks to live healthier lifestyle!

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, June 4). Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html

Obesity Action Coalition. (2013). Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2013. Retrieved from http://www.obesityaction.org/treat-and-reduce-obesity-act

Wilson, J. (2013, June 19). Physicians group labels obesity as a disease. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/19/health/ama-obesity-disease-change/index.html