ANTIOXIDANTS: KEY FOR LONGEVITY!

When it comes to boosting antioxidant intake, recent research indicates there’s little benefit from taking diet supplements. A better way, according to a report in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, is eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods.
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotene, lycopene, lutein and many other substances may play a role in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration. Antioxidants are thought to help because they can neutralize free radicals, which are toxic byproducts of natural cell metabolism. The human body naturally produces antioxidants but the process isn’t 100 percent effective and that effectiveness declines with age.
Research is increasingly showing that those who eat antioxidant-rich foods reap health benefits. Foods, rather than supplements, may boost antioxidant levels because foods contain an unmatchable array of antioxidant substances. A supplement may contain a single type of antioxidant or even several. However, foods contain thousands of types of antioxidants, and it’s not known which of these substances confer the benefits.
Some of the better food sources of antioxidants are:
-Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries
-Beans: Small red beans and kidney, pinto and black beans
-Fruits: Many apple varieties (with peels), avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple, oranges, and kiwi
-Vegetables: Artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, red and white potatoes (with peels), sweet potatoes and broccoli
-Beverages: Green tea, coffee, red wine and many fruit juices
-Nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds
-Herbs: Ground cloves, cinnamon or ginger, dried oregano leaf and turmeric powder
-Grains: Oat-based products
-Dessert: Dark chocolate






TOMATOES MAY REDUCE RISK OF STROKE

Eating tomatoes in your daily salad or regularly enjoying a healthy red sauce on your spaghetti could help reduce your risk of stroke, according to research published this week in the journal Neurology.
Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant that is good for brain health, the researchers say, and cooked tomatoes seem to offer more protection than raw.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” says study author Jouni Karppi, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “A diet containing tomatoes… a few times a week would be good for our health. However, daily intake of tomatoes may give better protection.”
Karppi says it’s the chemical lycopene that gives tomatoes and other fruits/vegetables their rich red color, that is helping to protect the brain. Tomatoes are particularly high in the powerful antioxidant that acts like a sponge, soaking up rogue molecules called free radicals that if left unchecked can damage cells.
Lycopene has attracted a lot of attention in recent years because it’s such a powerful antioxidant. If we don’t eat enough lycopene-packed foods, experts suspect too many free radicals get left in the body, damaging blood vessels by helping to form fatty deposits. When these deposits build up, a blockage forms. If that vessel is in the brain, the blockage can cause a stroke.