Antioxidants: the defense shield against aging?

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Antioxidants are increasingly popular among older adults because of their potential benefits to ward of disease and fight the visible signs of aging.  These power houses are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables and some supplements.

The National Institutes of Health defines antioxidants as “substances that may protect you against free radicals”.  Free radicals are molecules in our bodies that damage our cells and may play a role in heart disease and other cancers.  Therefore eating foods with antioxidants may help prevent cancer, improve heart health, and support cognitive function.

Common examples of foods that contain antioxidants are dark chocolate, blueberries, spinach, and red wine.  The benefits from alcohol only occur when it is consumed in moderation.  Some individuals prefer to take their supplements in pill form, such as vitamin C or E.  However, keep in mind research has shown that the effectiveness of antioxidants is most beneficial through food instead of supplementation.

These findings only further support that eating a variety of foods is the best way to improve overall health for seniors and fight the potential signs of aging.  However, if you decide to take an antioxidant supplement or any other type of supplement, remember to discuss it with your pharmacist or physician.

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