‘BOOT CAMPERS TAKE ON THE WORLD WITH ANTI-OXIDANTS’
Most Boot campers have heard of Antioxidants at some point in their lives but do you really know what they are and what they do to us physically?
Explained simply an antioxidant is a bodily molecule inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a natural chemical reaction in our body enabling the transfer of electrons or hydrogen from a substance like food to an oxidizing agent.
Oxidation reactions can produce unstable atoms or free radicals who look for electrons in the body to help them become stable. This is the primary cause of damage to the body’s cells, organs, and tissues leading to many diseases and ailments.
They will attack cells to obtain their electrons. The re-stabilized atoms then release more free radicals creating a chain reaction. The body then creates its own antioxidants to break this reaction, as well as to fight the creation of more free radicals.
Examples of antioxidants include anthocyanins, beta-carotene, catechins, coenzyme Q10, flavonoids, lipoic acid, lutein, lycopene, selenium, and vitamins C and E. There are many antioxidants available as dietary supplements.
The magical antioxidant can help us all in many ways from building better resistance to colds and flu to giving relief from allergies. They can give us increased energy, improved circulation, better sleep and a sharper memory. Blood pressure can be reduced and we can gain softer, younger looking skin. Add to this better digestion, relief from arthritis and menstrual problems and the list looks pretty impressive. But what about weight loss?
When we lose weight, we are not only shedding excess fat, we are also losing some of the nutrients in our body needed to maintain good health. If you are exercising as part of a weight loss program then your body will be creating even higher levels of toxic by-products. Antioxidants can help provide your body with the nutritional support it requires during the oxidation process, reducing physical stress and keeping energy levels and metabolism as high as possible.
When body fat content is reduced, the increase of toxins in the body can affect the liver, where toxins are normally processed and removed, by causing it to work harder than normal.
We should keep in mind the actual amount of weight loss associated with taking antioxidants is still unknown. This amount fluctuates between individuals and the sources of the antioxidants you consume.
Foods rich in antioxidants have some of the lowest calories. When you eat the most nutrient dense foods, you’re energetic, focused and strong. There are some antioxidant foods directly correlated to weight loss. Studies have found, for example the catechins in green tea can stimulate the body to burn calories and decrease body fat.
Most weight loss focuses on the decrease of fat content in the body. Fat is a necessary element in the healthy function of the body. There are two types of body fat: essential fat, which is necessary for reproduction and other body functions; and storage fat, which is essential in protecting certain organs of the body. Fat is stored in adipose tissue, which contains lipids necessary to convert nutrients into energy. Your personal trainer will give good advice on any weight loss and fitness programme.
In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2000), more than half of the 10,000 respondents reported taking a dietary supplement in the previous month. Of the 1,900 dietary supplements included in the survey, more than 47 percent contained an antioxidant: vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, flavonoids, or isoflavones. More than 3,000 of the respondents reported taking dietary supplements containing one of the antioxidants mentioned.
A 2009 study looked at data from NHANES (1999–2000 and 2001–2002) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Flavonoid Database to estimate the total antioxidant intake from diet and supplements of adults in the United States. The researchers calculated the daily intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenes, selenium, and flavonoids. They found supplements accounted for 54 of vitamin C; 64 per cent of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol); 14 percent of carotenes; 11 per cent of selenium; and 2 of flavonoid intake.
Eating your five portions of fruit and vegetables each day will give you a steady supply of the antioxidants your body needs. Other great foods to eat range from Brazil nuts to brown rice, seafood to eggs, oatmeal to garlic.
The highest ranked foods in four major categories are as follows:
Fruits: blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries.
Vegetables: beans, artichoke hearts, and surprisingly, russet potatoes.
Nuts: pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts.
Spices: cinnamon, oregano, and ground cloves.
Green tea is one of the best supplements containing the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate. This acts to jump-start your metabolism by revving up the body’s fat burning processes. Additionally, the caffeine in green tea acts as a stimulant, further enhancing your body’s natural ability to burn fat for energy. U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher and physiologist, William Rumpler, notes that in studies of non-human subjects who consumed ECGC on a daily basis, many lost up to 21 per cent of their total body weight and ate significantly less at meal times.
Never use antioxidant supplements as a replacement for a healthy diet or conventional medical care, or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem. Getting your Doctor’s advice is always recommended. Any good personal trainer will tell you this!
Antioxidants and cancer prevention: fact sheet. National Cancer Institute Web site. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants/ on
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Effect of the Supplemental Use of Antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Coenzyme Q10 for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment no. 75. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2003. AHRQ publication no. 04-E002.
Bjelakovic G, Nikolova D, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;(2):CD007176.
By North East Personal Trainer Darren Tyrie
Passionate about results!