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Take Back Your Life 4
In Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, titled “Take Your Life Back,” “Take Your Life Back 2,” and “Take Your Life Back 3”; we discussed the importance of normal cellular function, Necessity to have and maintain healthy cells A balanced endocrine system, and the role of vitamins and minerals, including certain trace minerals related to health. In Part 4 we will look at the phenomenon of antioxidants and their integral part in furthering our efforts to maintain a state of fitness and optimal health.
Information about antioxidants and their value to our health has been in the news for a long time. Research is ongoing and opinions abound. That’s the truth. Our body cells are easily damaged and degraded if they are not protected by antioxidants, just like metal materials are prone to rust in the weather.
One way to try to get antioxidant protection for our cells is to eat foods rich in these nutrients. In fact, the National Research Council recommends 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, which is an amount most people struggle to eat normally. Even for those who do, adequate antioxidant protection may not be available because today’s foods are often depleted of many of the nutrients we need. This can be demonstrated, for example, by comparing the vitamin C content of various oranges grown in different environments. Not to mention the apparent lack of sufficient other catalytic elements in foods and supplements, such as flavonoids, that boost and activate the nutrients needed for optimal performance. That’s why we need to take cues from dietary choices based on nutritional categories of whole foods.
A hundred years ago, while we might have thought that eating fruits and vegetables was good for us, recent findings from many fronts of research show that we don’t realize just how good it really is for us. Today we know that regular consumption of these vital foods along with adequate food supplements can protect us from many diseases. We know this because of the clear link between oxidative stress and declining health. Our lack of understanding of the value of food-based nutrients and their contribution to health becomes even more apparent if we go back even further.
For example, in past centuries it was believed that all foods contained only one nutrient. The ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates developed this theory based on his simple observation that people are the same no matter where they live or what they eat. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, nutrients were divided into two broad categories: proteins and other organic compounds. Vitamins are largely unknown to us and thus contribute to major diet-related diseases including scurvy, beriberi, night blindness, rickets, and due to lack of adequate vitamins C, B1, A, D, iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12 is also unknown separately. Considered more or less a luxury, green vegetables and fruits are expensive sources of protein, energy, and bulk to promote regular bowel movements.
At the time, this prominent way of thinking produced turn-of-the-century statistics such as the average American life expectancy of 47 years. Most people die from infections and diseases aggravated by malnutrition and lack of any other means of health support such as good nutrition and judicious supplementation might provide.
Numerous studies over the past century have revealed the existence of known vitamins and other beneficial nutrients as we know them today. During the course of this discovery campaign, 11 Nobel Prizes were awarded for the discovery of vitamins, and the 20th century was honored with titles such as the “Golden Age of Nutrition”. The importance of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients in our daily diets is now recognized as a way to avoid deficiencies and support overall health. Other interesting studies, such as one in which animals consuming a supplement containing a complex of antioxidants for 6 months showed a reduction in age-related cognitive decline compared to non-supplemented animals. This provides further evidence of the need for adequate antioxidant protection as a dietary practice.
In the 21st century, when we consider what best supports our health and helps maintain ideal health, we prefer to eat and tout the virtues of fresh food rather than heavily processed foods. Freeze-drying is the best way to preserve many nutrients if fresh food is not available or lacks the nutrients we need. Of course, whole food extracts are preferable to high doses of single nutrient supplements. Supplementing with whole food extracts can and does provide essential and beneficial nutrients that support good health, disease prevention and well-being. Today we know that there are thousands of nutrients and we are only just beginning to understand the complexity of how beneficial nutrients protect and support our bodies. But we do know one thing. That is we need antioxidants to maintain health.
The primary and pressing reason we need dietary antioxidant protection can be summed up in two words: heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer in the entire developed world. It is also the number one killer of adults in the United States. Heart disease accounts for more than 40% of all deaths and costs more than $286 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. Today, approximately 61 million Americans are dealing with issues related to this disease. If we could somehow eliminate this cause of premature death, life expectancy would increase by almost 10 years. While some risk factors (such as genetic predisposition, sex, and age) cannot be changed, most can. A good diet, maintaining an appropriate body weight, and eliminating alcohol, drug, and tobacco abuse will help reduce risk, but antioxidant protection is also important.
Studies have also shown that individuals with elevated blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can be converted in the body to glutathione, which is An important cellular antioxidant. This is especially true if the levels of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 in the blood are insufficient to make this conversion possible. This leads to elevated levels of homocysteine, which in turn leads to blood clotting, narrowing of arteries, and toxicity to the cells that line blood vessels.
what can be done Best available eating habits can benefit more from supplements. Many of the most beneficial nutrients are found in the foods most commonly lacking in typical diets: whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidant nutrients may be beneficial because they may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Other dietary nutrients can help maintain or lower blood pressure, blood total and LDL cholesterol, lipid and homocysteine levels, and increase blood HDL cholesterol levels.
Some of the vitamins and other nutrients that make up good antioxidant and healthy heart protection include: Vitamin C, E, B6, B12, Magnesium, L-Arginine, Folic Acid, Garlic, Grape Extract, Hawthorn Berry Extract, Taurine, Trimethylglycine, alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, and coenzyme Q-10. These nutrients are contained in some fresh foods and dietary supplements. If you’re supplementing, make sure you’re getting food-formed supplements so your body can recognize and utilize the good stuff. Remember, more is not necessarily better.
There is a synergy at play here. Few supplements are produced and marketed with synergy in mind, but they do exist. go find them. Common sense must prevail when considering supplements. Dietary supplements are intended to supplement an already healthy diet. If you regularly eat foods that contain these nutrients, you may need to adjust the amount of your supplement.
Finally, anyone who is being treated by a doctor for a heart-related problem should share their eating habits, including supplement use, with their doctor. However, your health is ultimately in your hands. Remember to move your body, eat well, supplement reasonably, and take back your life!
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