Antioxidants Health Benefits: Aging, Longevity and Diet

Antioxidants help the body combat disease.
Antioxidants help the body combat disease. | Source
Aging is a natural process. Improve the process by staying informed and by attaining a healthy lifestyle.
Aging is a natural process. Improve the process by staying informed and by attaining a healthy lifestyle. | Source

What are antioxidants?

First, let's look at oxidation.

  • Oxidation is a chemical reaction.
  • Oxidation produces free radicals.
  • Free radicals damage cells.
  • The damaged cells promote unhealthy tissues, may lead to cancer, induce disorders and can speed the effects of aging.

Antioxidants

  • Antioxidants have the ability to slow and at times completely stop oxidation.

Interesting facts about the use of antioxidants in various therapies.

  • Antioxidants are commonly used in patients suffering from brain injuries, including strokes. The antioxidants aid in preventing additional oxidative stress on brain tissue.
  • Antioxidant research has provided positive outcomes in the treatment and potential prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.
  • Blueberries for example, have been found to greatly improve our health in a variety of ways. Specifically with cognition, retinal health, cardiac health and weight control.

What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and general nutrients found in plant and some animal food products.

Some antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Beta-carotene or Carotenoids: lycopene, carotenes, lutein
  • Polyphenlic: resveratrol, flavenoids
  • Selenium
  • Catechins

Aging begins when we are born. Although we cannot turn back the hands of time to our youth, we can improve our lives through a healthy lifestyle.
Aging begins when we are born. Although we cannot turn back the hands of time to our youth, we can improve our lives through a healthy lifestyle. | Source

Diet and Aging

Aging of course happens daily. Aside from the changes found in our physical appearance: gray hair, yellowing teeth, wrinkled skin, vision problems and brittle bones, the body also begins to lose effective functions in the brain and heart. As we age, we tend to develop and become more susceptible to arthritis, osteoporosis, memory loss, heart disease, fluctuations of blood pressure and even cancer. These problems together with a wider waistline can induce a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.

The years of an unhealthy diet can begin to take a toll and as our body loses resiliency, we begin to see cases of inflammation and a weakened immune system.

Before you throw your hands up in the air and succumb to unhealthy aging, there are some alternatives. Although were are not granted the time traveling luxury of starting all over again, we can begin each day with a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Antioxidants: Foods or Supplements?

We can all benefit from taking a multi vitamin, however, a diet rich in all of our necessary nutrients is best. Although it is not always easy to attain all of the nutrients, we can begin to include these antioxidant rich foods in our diet and supplement as needed. Always consult a physician about your consumption of supplements.

Incidentally, the American Heart Association does not recommend using antioxidant suplements. Instead, the AHA suggests a diet rich in a variety of healthy foods found in the basic food groups.

If mineral deficiencies are a concern, you may want to look into the following information on the effects of mineral deficiencies. These include:

  • Potassium Deficiency: Potassium Rich Foods
  • Magnesium Deficiency: Magnesium Rich Foods
  • Calcium Deficiency: Calcium Rich Foods

Foods with antioxidants

Note, some foods may be on more than one list due to the variety of properties they hold. This is a partial list of many foods containing antioxidants.

Vitamin C: citrus, blueberries, elderberry, mixed berries, green leafy vegetables, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, peppers and broccoli.

Flavonoids (anthocyanins, resveratrol and catechins): apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, elderberry, grapes, raspberries and strawberries. Green teas and matcha provide catechins.

Vitamin E: A variety of nuts and seeds, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts. Avocados and green leafy vegetables are also rich in vitamin E. Don'f forget olives and wheat germ.

Beta-carotene: cantaloupe, carrots, mangoes, papaya, pumpkin, spinach, squash and sweet potatoes. These are great for skincare too!

Carotenoids (lutein and lycopene): carrots, tomatoes, kale, passion fruit and spinach.

Selenium: Usually found in a variety of proteins. Consider lean meats when selecting beef, pork, poultry or seafood. Selenium is also found in mushrooms and whole grains.

Antioxidants and Aging

Green Tea and Longevity

The health benefits of green tea can greatly improve life expectancy. Green tea has powerful cancer fighting antioxidants and ingredients, which improve memory, cognition, cardiovascular health and brain function

Stress:

Stress is known to negatively affect the aging process. Consider adding relaxation techniques and moderate exercise to your lifestyle. It will improve serotonin levels, help you sleep better and improve your overall feelings of well being. Plus, stress can age your appearance. Lighten those pesky wrinkles with a radiant smile and a breath of fresh air.

Suggested Foods for Reducing the Signs of Aging

This is a general grouping of foods we should include in our daily diets.

Water: Necessary for hydration of the body and aids in flushing away toxins. Regular water consumption also improves complexion and radiance.

Yogurt: Yogurt is a wonderful probiotic. Probiotics help maintain a healthy digestion and adds beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract. Yogurt also provides the body with calcium.

Whole Grains: Fiber is an important diet element. It provides bulk to stave off hunger, improves digestion, helps lower cholesterol and aids in controlling blood sugar.

Legumes: A variety of beans are a great source of protein, magnesium and potassium. All of these are low in cholesterol and contain blood pressure lowering nutrients. Legumes are also rich in fiber and low in calories.

Nuts: Nuts are the perfect healthy snack or salad topper. They provide vitamin B and selenium. Plus, the fats found in nuts aid in maintaining skin structure and resiliency. So if sagging skin s driving you nuts, why not eat them instead? Use caution though, nuts are high in calories.

Fish and Flax: Fish and flax are both rich in omega-3. These essential fatty acids aid in mental, retinal and cardiac health. Fish should be fatty cold water fish.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. However, all information is research based. Please consult a physician for medical and dietary advice and treatment.

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares

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Comments 24 comments

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Useful and pretty well written MissOlive. The Matcha and green tea catechin are life savers. Legumes, spinash ans salads keep our body well "flushed" and with eanough energy for the challenges. Thanks for the effort Marissa!


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

Though I know a lot of this being a health nut buff...I learned some new things and I love reinforcement. Good hub and lots of really good information. Voting Up and sharing.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

As times goes by, I find myself interested more and more on eating healthy and aging well. Glad I was able to catch your post. Very helpful and your suggestions are doable for me. voted up.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

i have an almost daughter in law who is an...extreme vegan. She won't eat this, or that, or those, or them, or , or, or...She is pale, tired, and often cranky..I, on the other hand - am libra and believe in balance (and meat..lol)! I eat smart - not hard - so i can go long! Lol..Great advice! Most of us would do well to get out of these damned computer chairs for a moment or 2...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Miss Olive may not be a physician but she sure does give good, healthy information and advive. This is a timely hub and one everyone can use, not just us old babyboomers ;)

Voted up, useful, interesting and pinned!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

Very insightful and interesting hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper


kelleyward 4 years ago

This is a very interesting hub. I'm grateful for your natural healing food hubs. Voting this up and sharing it.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Awesome info and well laid out. Very useful. Voted up and other stuff!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

You had me until I saw "fish" - wheweee, I'm not a fish fan. But if you say I have to eat it, welllll, I might have to plug my nose and force it down. Haha. Wonderful hub!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I really like this. It is a sort of checklist to keep on track with good health habits for aging gracefully. Thanks for the concise format and info.


mvillecat profile image

mvillecat 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

Great list of wonderful anti-aging food. Stress does age you. I have been through a lot of stress these last years and I can tell you firsthand it does. I voted up and tweeted.


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

Lord De Cross, thanks Joseph, I appreciate that. Catechins are very powerful. Thanks for stopping by.

carol7777, what a wonderful compliment. It thrills me to know I was able to add to all the wonderful things you know about healthy foods. Thanks so much for your votes and shares.

teaches12345, I'm right there with you. I think back to some of the things I have eaten over the years or the crazy diets I have tried. I'm glad you found this info to be doable and useful. Thanks so much.

ImKarn23, LOL I LOVE your attitude about balance. I've tried being vegetarian and even vegan. I just couldn't do. I lasted about 9 months though. I don't eat as much beef as I used to though.

tillsontitan, wow! What a great compliment! Thanks so much, I am so flattered. Thanks for all the votes and shares too.

Faith Reaper, thank you! I appreciate it.

kelleyward, thank you Kelley. You have written many valuable hubs and I'm flattered by your comment.

cclitgirl, really? You are not a fish girl? Well, you could always give fish oil capsules a try. :)

rebeccamealey, thank you. I like that, a 'checklist'. Very glad to see you.

mvillecat, thank you so much. Yes it does. Stress does horrible things to our body and to our complexions. Aging is tough enough on our bodies...who needs to challenge it with stress? Cheers and thanks for the votes and tweets.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

Great info miss O as always...love your hubs, so helpful & have bookmarked this one, will def need for future reference... VUAI & shared...cheers


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Still not a "fishy" girl. But I DO do the fish oil capsules. My heart likes them. :P


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

carter06, thank you so much! I appreciate it, take care.

cclitgirl, a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Nice seeing you Cyndi and thank you for stopping by.


newusedcarssacram profile image

newusedcarssacram 3 years ago from Sacramento, CA, U.S.A

Interesting hub you have shared missolive...I enjoyed reading this.

Voted Up.


iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

Thanks for sharing a list of anti-oxidant foods. It will surely be a "guidebook" to anti-aging and overall health. Voted up and useful.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I just read an article about antioxidants (I do think you explained it better!) I thought that he said coffee had lots of it...I see you said Green Teas do I really hope he was correct about the coffee? I finally had a good reason to drink more!


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 3 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

Very informative hub. The whole perspective is presented very systematically and in a simple way to grasp the ideas. a real guide hub for sure to a healthier life. Thanks for sharing this one and I am sharing too.

Voted up useful and interesting.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Thanks for this helpful information. Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

A nice review. Chia seeds also contain Omega-3s. Thank you for the hub. And, thank you, Brian, for sharing this hub with other hubbers.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This is a very informative hub. I was just doing a little research on antioxidants yesterday, when I was looking up pumpkins. I'm so glad a lot of the foods I like are full of antioxidants!

Thank you for sharing this information with us.


Alexa Poesia profile image

Alexa Poesia 3 years ago from Ohio

You shod check out a book called O2 diet, has a lot of useful info in it about antioxidants, nothing else a good read. Good writing, informative.


missolive profile image

missolive 3 years ago from Texas Author

newusedcarssacram, thank you very much for reading, commenting and voting.

iguidenetwork, I am pleased to know this list will be useful for you and others. Thank you for the votes.

RealHousewife, wow! Thank you! That is a wonderful compliment. Oh, I could not do away with coffee, but I am a HUGE fan of matcha! Amazing health benefits in a small portion of green tea powder.

dghbrh, thank you so very much for your lovely comment. Thank you so much for your support and for sharing my hub.

B. Leekley, the pleasure is mine, I greatly appreciate your support.

Marie Flint, great to know on the Chia seeds, I'll need to update one of my hubs with that info. Thank you for stopping by.

Kathryn Stratford, I am glad you found this to be informative. Pumpkins are great for our skin and getting antioxidants through natural food sources is certainly a plus. I keep my Emergen C supplements handy - just in case I may have missed something. :)

Alexa Poesia, I will certainly see about locating that book, thanks for the suggestion. I like keeping great resources handy.

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