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the Message Continues ... 10/97



Newsletter for September 2009

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  All About Antioxidants

Antioxidants are quickly becoming known as an important part of a healthy diet. Some familiar vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin E are wearing this new identity. But less familiar plant nutrients, such as lycopene, are getting attention as antioxidants, too. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage done by free radicals, which are natural by-products of living cells. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants help maintain the health of all of the body's systems, including the immune, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems. They also help support healthy aging. It's all in a day's work for antioxidants. The Who's Who of Antioxidants

Below is a list of the important players in the world of antioxidants, their benefits, and where you can find them. Pay particular attention to vitamins A, C, and E—these vitamins have become "nutrients of concern," according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which found that Americans aren't getting enough of these essential vitamins.
 Vitamin A
Recommendation: 5,000 international units a day
Benefits: Important for vision, red blood cell production, embryonic development, and immune function
Sources: Orange vegetables; green, leafy vegetables Vitamin C
Recommendation: 60 milligrams a day
Benefits: Acts as a health-promoting antioxidant; helps maintain a strong immune system
Sources: Fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kiwis, and guavas Vitamin E
Recommendation: 30 international units a day
Benefits: Acts as a protective antioxidant; stabilizes cell membranes
Sources: Whole grains, vegetable oils and spreads, nuts, and peanut butter
On the Hunt for Antioxidants?
Up your antioxidant ante with Healthy Choice All Natural Entrées such as Pumpkin Squash Ravioli, which features 50% daily value of vitamin A.Zinc
Recommendation: 15 milligrams a day
Benefits: Crucial for growth and development; essential for proteins involved in gene expression
Sources: Red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products Lycopene.

Recommendation: No official recommendation, but including foods such as processed tomatoes, that are rich in lycopene, is a smart part of a healthy diet.
Benefits: Appears to have strong antioxidant capabilities, contributing to healthy cells
Sources: Processed tomato products (canned tomatoes, ketchup, spaghetti sauce), fresh tomatoes, watermelon, and red/pink grapefruit

As you read through the list of antioxidants, you probably realized that you've heard of the vitamins and zinc, but maybe aren't as familiar with lycopene. Lycopene is a pigment that gives the red color to vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, red/pink grapefruit, and watermelon. Lycopene appears to have strong antioxidant capabilities and may contribute to the maintenance of prostate health. Lycopene is not produced in the body, so you can only obtain its benefits by eating lycopene-rich foods. So if you love spaghetti, but aren't fond of raw tomatoes—no worries. Research indicates cooking some foods makes it easier for the body to absorb certain nutrients. In fact, tomato products, such as diced tomatoes, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, ketchup, and pizza sauce, are the major sources of lycopene in the typical American diet. Also, when lycopene is combined with a small amount of fat, its absorption is even better, making olive oil and tomato sauce a perfect combination.

courtesy: The Healthy Choice  






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