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Antioxidants Aid Athletes

July 27, 2016 2 min read

 Antioxidants Aid Athletes

As you run, swim, ride or work out, your body consumes much more oxygen than when you are at rest. It also produces many more free radicals during heightened activity, which contribute to muscle fatigue and to the muscle damage and inflammation from sports impact that make it hard to workout again the next day.

The natural enemies of free radicals are antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals and thereby limit their effects. Research has shown that antioxidant-rich foods may offer benefits to runners and other endurance athletes. Studies have also shown that muscle damage and inflammation from sports impact may be reduced when athletes consume antioxidants, and that muscle strength may improve significantly faster.

Dangers of Free Radicals

Antioxidants prevent the oxidative damage that free radicals do to your body’s cells. Although your body naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to neutralize them, free radicals normally outnumber the antioxidants. When this happens, free radicals can have negative effects on your body and performance.

The negative effects of free radicals include:

  • inflammation from sports impact affecting muscle performance
  • deterioration to the lens of your eye
  • damaged nerve cells in the brain, which may lead to cognitive decline
  • rapid acceleration of the aging process
  • LDL cholesterol attaching itself to your artery walls, declining heart health
  • damage to cell DNA

This is why it is important to ensure you are getting enough antioxidants from external sources.

Health Benefits of Antioxidants

Since antioxidants neutralize free radicals, they can prevent the oxidative damage that can lead to declined health. There are many types of antioxidants, and each one can impact different parts of your body. They include:
  • lycopene, which may improve overall health
  • lutein, which may lower the risk of eye lens degeneration
  • flavonoids, which may improve heart health
  • proanthocyanidin, which may benefit urinary health
  • carotene, which may benefit eye health
  • vitamin E, which may keep skin healthy
  • astaxanthin and spirulina, which may provide immune support

Good Sources of Antioxidants

There are many plant sources rich in antioxidants, including the following:

  • allium sulphur – onions, leeks, garlic
  • anthocyanins – grapes, berries, eggplant
  • beta-carotene – mangoes, pumpkin, carrots, apricots, parsley, spinach
  • catechins – tea, red wine
  • copper – milk, nuts, seafood, lean meat
  • flavonoids – citrus fruits, green tea, onion, apples, red wine
  • isoflavonoids – milk, peas, tofu, lentils, soybeans
  • lutein – spinach, corn, green leafy vegetables, corn
  • lycopene – watermelon, tomatoes
  • polyphenols – oregano, thyme
  • selenium – lean meat, whole grains, seafood
  • vitamin E – nuts, seeds, avocado, whole grains and vegetable oils

If you think you are not getting enough antioxidants in your daily diet, try working some of the above foods into your meals in addition to INVIGOR8, which contains a green veggie complex that provides antioxidants and other benefits.

About the Author

 Debbi Carroll
Debbi Carroll

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