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:
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.
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