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Quenching Your Thirst for Antioxidants

Updated on February 12, 2010

In a world where anyone is susceptible to health risk, people have become more and more conscious about the foods they eat. Choosing the right types of food can truly spell the difference between wellness and sickness. As it is already known, food does more than just satisfy hunger, but it contains valuable compounds, providing nutrition to ensure survival and longevity. And among the most important components that boost immunity and overall health are the much talked about antioxidants.

Just what do antioxidants do, and why are they necessary for optimum health? The cells of the human body require various compounds for them to perform vital bioprocesses. And whenever the cells metabolize these nutrients, the by products are released as waste. The accumulation of certain wastes, however, can lead to oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress eventually causes the production of harmful free radicals, compounds that contribute to health complications such as heart disease, urinary tract infection, cancer, and others. To be able to fight off cell damage caused by free radicals, the body needs the speedy action of antioxidants. Antioxidants may be classified into categories such as flavonoids, enzymes, thiols, and others.

Did you know that you can receive your daily dose of antioxidants from rich sources such as your favorite beverages? Even without the need for pills or dietary supplements, you can cleanse your body, rejuvenate your cells, and improve your overall well-being just by enjoying drinks like coffee, tea, juice, cocoa, and wine!

Get to know a few more details about your everyday thirst quenchers, and how drinking them regularly can help you say goodbye to nasty free radicals. Here are some juicy antioxidant tidbits for you to ponder on:

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Coffee – America’s favorite perker upper has been found to contain the highest level of antioxidants compared to all other drinks. To be more specific, these were caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, which are most abundant in black coffee. According to the Journal of Nutrition in March 2004, coffee has been widely studied to have positive effects against certain types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and even diabetes.

Tea – Perhaps the most popular drink in the whole world, tea and its many varieties have already been established as beneficial to health. Of the diverse types of tea, green and black tea are said to contain the most amount of flavonoids like EGCG, which perform vital antioxidant processes. Drinking tea daily can help cleanse the urinary system, and prevent cell damage that can lead to cancer.


Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Juice – Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and limes have a high Vitamin C content. Vitamin C has already been established as an effective antioxidant that boosts immunity. Along with that, citrus juices contain hesperidin, a compound that was found to help protect the blood vessels. Another popular fruit that has strong antioxidants is the acai berry, rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids like homoorientin and more. Acai juice, as a diet supplement, is already a favored choice among people who want to get rid of excess fat.

Cocoa – A steaming mug of cocoa is not just for cold winter nights anymore. Chocolate, especially the pure unsweetened form, has been discovered to have lots of procyanidin, a flavonoid that supports the body’s connective tissues, maintains healthy blood vessels, and prevents cell mutation. Cocoa also has quercitin, which has been researched by the National Institutes of Health to have benefits against diabetes and obesity.

Wine – More people are now considering drinking a glass of red wine everyday because they say it’s good for the heart. But other than that, red wine can do more wonders, too. Research has attributed these positive effects to a compound called resveratrol, which also has the potential to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiac fibrosis. Resveratrol is currently being examined as a possible key to longevity, as seen in experiments with mice. Other foods that have this antioxidant are grapes, mulberries, and peanuts.

So next time you take a sip of merlot, gulp down some OJ, or indulge in a fresh cup of java, think of the healthy dose of antioxidants you’re getting. Not only are you quenching your thirst with your favorite drink, but you are also helping your body fight off disease and infection. Now, that’s something worth raising your glass to!

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