Email from viewer: Dr. Rachel what exactly are antioxidants? And why are they good for me?
Dr. Rachel: Simple answer, antioxidants are free radical sponges.
So what are free radicals? Free radicals form naturally in our body because we use oxygen to metabolize our food to give us the energy we need to live. Free radicals damage the cells in our body and can play a role in the development of cancers and other health conditions.
Free radicals are controlled by antioxidants. Antioxidants sponge up free radicals.
Our body makes some of the necessary antioxidants. But, most of the antioxidants we need come from the food that we eat or drink that is high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Foods high in antioxidants include red grapes, blueberries, basically any berry is great. Pears and apples, with their skins, are fabulous, as are dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds. Sweet potatoes and red potatoes are excellent sources if you leave the skins on them.
Red wine, in moderation, and green teas are also wonderful antioxidants.
Do not spend money on antioxidant supplements. Research shows that they do not help prevent free radical damage as well as the naturally occurring antioxidants in our food.
Combine a variety of these fruits, vegetables, nuts, and drinks to keep those free radicals from running free.
Email a question to Dr. Rachel: DrRachel@wgno.com