Antioxidants in Good Nutrition With Food Example

Antioxidants in Good Nutrition With Food Example

During the 1960s, researchers noted that populations in some coastal areas had a lower incidence of chronic diseases and a longer life span than populations in industrialized regions. It became clear that affluence was not the key to good nutrition and good health. In fact, affluent populations had health problems that were almost unknown in these relatively isolated coastal populations.

Common Dietary Factors
Healthy populations had several common factors in their diet. The most notable was high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and low consumption of meats and animal fats. Whole grains were used and refined flours and sugars were rarely eaten. The primary sources of protein were seafood, legumes and eggs, and dairy products like butter and cream were seldom included with meals. Researchers focused on different aspects of this healthy pattern of eating and came to conclusions regarding the reason for the excellent health enjoyed by these populations.

Fruits and Vegetables
The best source of the major antioxidants and many micronutrients are fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. Canning and freezing can destroy some of these necessary vitamins as can exposure to heat or sunlight. The healthiest ways to cook fruits or vegetables is to sauté them quickly or to blanche them in a hot water bath. Some vegetable oils, notably extra virgin olive oil, contain antioxidants called polyphenols which may have a synergistic effect which promotes the action of other antioxidants.
Antioxidants in Good Nutrition With Food Example
Fish and Whole Grains
Since all of the coastal diets studied contained higher than average amounts of fish and seafood, fish was one of the first foods to be studied. In addition to the antioxidants selenium and zinc, fish are a source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are amino acids vital to healthy cell development. Diets that promoted good health and longevity also used a mixture of whole grains instead of refined white flour. Cereal grains, nuts and seeds are packed with antioxidants and are the staples of healthy eating.

Coffee, Tea and Red Wine
Tea has served as a panacea for illness and stress for centuries. While it was known that tea contained tannins, it was only recently that tea was found to be a rich source of antioxidants. Coffee is also high in antioxidants, but both coffee and tea provide the best health benefits when taken without milk or sugar. Red wine is a source of resveratrol, which is present in the skins and seeds of grapes. Resveratrol is believed to protect against heart disease and certain cancers. It gives the skin of grapes their color and dark skinned grapes are the highest in resveratrol.

Colorful Eating Habits
Antioxidants, like resveratrol, are responsible for the characteristic colors of many fruits and vegetables. Different colored fruits & vegetables contain different types of antioxidants. Since studies suggest that a variety of antioxidants are needed to achieve maximum benefits, a colorful variety of foods is a good way to insure all the vital nutrients are present. Clinical studies suggest that diets high in plants and low in red meats and animal fats may promote good health and slow some of the aging processes.

The best way to insure good health is to practice healthy eating habits and get regular exercise. Antioxidant supplements may aid in boosting immune functions and inhibiting the signs of aging, but they cannot provide the variety of nutrients that are present in a healthy and varied diet.

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