Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Antioxidants for a Youthful Appearance

Antioxidants for a Youthful Appearance

Those who continue to look young in their 50s, 60s, 70s , and beyond usually have learned many secrets and strategies for keeping themselves healthy and well. For the most part, those secrets are not found in the bottles, tubes, and jars whose sales account for many billions of dollars each year.

One key secret is eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. No one needed to be reminded of this 75 years ago. In those days produce was an essential dietary component. And for the most part the produce people age was grown locally. Today we have so many choices, not all of them healthful, and we need to be sure to eat produce that is fresh rather than packaged in cans.

Colorful fresh produce contains high levels of antioxidants, those small biochemicals that pack a big punch. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, naturally occurring end-products of metabolism that destroy cells and may even cause cancer if they're not removed promptly.

In fact, a recent article in Ecology Letters pointed to an even more remarkable power of antioxidants. Researchers were studying brightly colored plumage on birds (which signal their efficacy as mates). Their work confirmed that more colorful males are better able to protect their sperm from oxidative stress. The article reported that sperm quality in less colorful males improved when antioxidants (specifically, carotenoids) were added to their diet.

In short, antioxidants provided by fresh produce have all kinds of life-extending benefits!

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