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Skinny Without Willpower

Friday, October 1, 2010


So we hear about antioxidants every other day in the media about how they help people lose weight and how it keeps them young. The discovery of Acai berry by main stream media and Oprah’s endorsement of the Acai berry diet and how it has helped her lose weight has everyone interested in this new berry. So what are antioxidants? And what are their benefits?

Antioxidants (AOs) have always existed in nature and in our food all along. Some foods have more AO’s than others, but pretty much any vegetable or fruit or bean or legume has it. So the word antioxidant itself suggests that it is an antagonist to something that is an oxidant and that is exactly what an AO does. During the normal cellular process the cells in your body release many metabolic wastes, some of which are toxic in the sense that they can damage the cell itself. These metabolic wastes or free radicals are unstable molecules that are hungry for electrons. As a result of this any cell it comes in contact with is stripped of electrons, making the cell unstable. This cell then goes on and finds another cell to attack. As a result of this a chain reaction is set in motion where unstable cells are attacking surrounding cells as they scavenge them in order to regain stability. This leads to cell aging as the cells become unstable and in some cases mutates the DNA of these cells to start causing abnormal cell growth, or cancerous tumors. So here in lies the utility of the AO in that it satisfies the free radicals so they don’t attack normal healthy cells. In this sense the AOs are ‘scavengers’ of free radicals that clean up the waste metabolites and help preserve the health of your cells. It’s immediately apparent that a food rich in antioxidants will prevent premature cell aging and help prevent many types of cancers. So now that you are convinced of the benefits of having AOs in your diet the next question is which foods are high in antioxidants?

Any natural food with a deep color is pretty much is high in antioxidant content. Acai berry, blue berries, black berries, red grapes are all high in antioxidant content. And guess which food has the highest AO content of all? No its not Acai berry but cocoa powder which has 40% more anti oxidant content compared to Acai. Other foods rich in AO are kidney beans, pinto beans, black eyed beans. By the way Kidney beans are as rich in AOs as blue berries. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, potatoes and cabbage are rich in AOs. In the next article I’ll talk more about AOs and the role exercise plays in anti aging. Stay tuned…

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