Over the next two weeks, we will be looking at Antioxidants, Apples and Alcohol.
We've all heard the buzz word "antioxidant." Until a year ago, I figured antioxidants had something to do with cancer prevention, but I didn't know much else.
Let me shock you right off the bat. Question: Do antioxidants prevent cancers?
Answer: According to recent studies, no they do not!
According to Wikipedia, "An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid, or polyphenols.
But then it goes on to say, "People who eat fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease and some neurological diseases, and there is evidence that some types of vegetables, and fruits in general, protect against some cancers. Since fruits and vegetables happen to be good sources of antioxidants, this suggested that antioxidants might prevent some types of diseases. This idea has been tested in clinical trials and does not seem to be true, as antioxidant supplements have no clear effect on the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This suggests that these health benefits come from other substances in fruits and vegetables (possibly flavonoids), or come from a complex mix of substances.
This really sent me for a loop. I kept Googling and researching and found the same conclusion on other sites.
Okay, so there is no proof that antioxidants prevent cancer, BUT at the same time antioxidants reduce the chances of a cancer starting. It's also saying there is something in fresh fruits and vegetables that can hold cancers at bay. Funny that most of the fruits and vegetables they recommend for this happen to be high in antioxidant properties? So it's a circle.
At the least, it would be safe to say that anti-oxidants are responsible for curbing or correcting a chance of getting cancer. I'm going to keep putting the fresh fruits and vegis high on my list. I really think the reason my cancers were so small is from the ground flax seeds and fresh blueberries and healthy foods I was already eating. So, maybe taking the Green tea extract supplement won't stop a recurrence, but it can slow it down and put up a good fight against any cancers trying to grow. Maybe that alone will be enough to save my life when I need it most.
From now on, I'll concentrate on eating the actual top five list of natural antioxidant rich substances like berries, broccoli, garlic,natural green tea and tomatoes.
The way I see it, you can't go wrong.
I don't think there really is such a thing as a BAD fresh fruit or vegetable. Just some are better than others if we're talking optimal health benefits. Think colourful- bright greens (Kale and spinach) and oranges (sweet potatoes and carrots), reds(strawberries and red peppers) and bright purples (blueberries and red grapes)
So, antioxidants are an important part of over-all health and who knows. Wait long enough and there will be more evidence to "dispute the dispute" putting antioxidants back on the cancer prevention list.
Which takes us to "A" for Apple.
It was while in a doctor's waiting room that I first read about the 4 Fruit A Day Diet.
Most of us will always have at least a few pounds to lose. The easiest way to do that is to eat less calories and get more exercise. Yeah, yeah, you say. Easier said than done.
What gets in our way is the craving for more food or for a certain food, usually something we shouldn't have too much of like ice cream, cookies,chocolates, fill-in-the-blank!
Our vices, they are called.
The best way I find to combat a craving is to keep full with things I can have.
Try eating four fruits a day. It's not as easy as it sounds. Canada's Food Guide recommends adult women aged 19-50 should eat a mix of 7-8 fruits and vegetables a day (females over 51 only need 7).
Add to that your recommended 8 x 8ounce glasses of water a day and you're getting full. Figure in your breakfast oatmeal and your sandwich at lunch, your 10 almonds for a snack at 3 pm, the salad, vegis and protein dinner and you won't have any room left for the bad stuff. Okay, maybe a little non-fat Source dessert that has been sweetened with Sucralose or a few sugar-free, no-fat cookies (try my No NO NO Brownie or Cookie recipes at www.debilynsmith.com).
Everyone deserves a treat day after dropping a few pounds. The key is to only have one cheat "meal" or at the most one "cheat day." Depends on how fast you want to lose weight.
You've heard the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away..."
Well, it could also keep the weight away! Try the 3-Apple-A-Day diet where you eat an apple before every meal. Apples, especially Red Delicious are handy antioxidants, especially if you eat the skin. Munching on one right before a meal will help curb your appetite, making you less likely to over-eat. I always feel like I already had dessert when I eat an apple before a meal.
It's a winning strategy. See below for more on this easy-to-follow diet.
So, happy fruit and vegi eating to you all! Don't forget to wash these well with vinegar and rinse with water first. (More about that when we get to "T" for Toxins.)
We'll see you next Monday with "A" is for Alcohol.