Posted by: mericonpharma | August 14, 2011

What Are Antioxidants?

There’s a lot of talk about antioxidants, as if they’re a cure for everything. But do they help with diabetes?

They might, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Antioxidants are nutrients that include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta-carotene and the mineral selenium. They protect the body from harmful substances known as “free radicals,” which are the by-products of metabolism that disrupt our natural cancer-fighting defenses and destroy important structures, such as cell membranes and DNA.

High blood glucose helps free radicals form in the body, and free radicals may be involved in diabetes complications.

Research shows that people who eat antioxidant-rich foods report fewer cases of cancer and heart disease. However, researchers haven’t determined whether these good health statistics are because of the antioxidants people are getting or simply the benefits of the food that the antioxidants are contained in. Fortunately, all the food they’re contained in is good for you anyway. Your best bet is to eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods.

Here’s where to find them:

  • Beta-carotene and vitamin A can be found in leafy vegetables (broccoli, collard greens, kale, spinach) and red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (apricot, cantaloupe, carrot, mango, peach, pumpkin, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon, squash).
  • Vitamin C is found in broccoli, cantaloupe, citrus fruit (orange, grapefruit, lemon), kiwi, potato, red pepper, strawberry and tomato.
  • Vitamin E is found in almonds, nuts, seeds, vegetable oil and wheat germ.
  • Selenium is found in cashews, halibut, meat, oysters, salmon, scallops and tuna.

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