Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African-American men and women? The disease claims the lives of over 100,000 annually. Perhaps due to this alarming number, much of scientific researches conducted in the US today have recently been focused on how antioxidant vitamins may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Previous studies have shown that antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene (a from of vitamin A), have potential health-promoting properties. The data on antioxidant vitamins is incomplete for the most part but up to 30 percent of Americans are already taking some form of antioxidant vitamin supplement along with their diet.
Due to the lack of sufficient data to support the success of antioxidant vitamins supplement against cardiovascular diseases and other such degenerative illnesses, the American Heart Association does not recommend using antioxidant vitamins supplements. However, they do not want to put a stop to our continued taking of antioxidant vitamins, the ones found in nature and in the foods that we eat.
Some of the basic food groups that prove to be rich sources of antioxidant vitamins are the following:
- Breads, cereals, pasta, and starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, yam, squash, etc.)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fat-free milk and low-fat dairy products
- Lean meat, fish, and poultry
Incidentally, if you pattern your diet after this basic food group, you not only ingest a high level of natural antioxidant vitamins, but you also keep fat buildup in your body. Eating a variety of foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol will provide a rich natural source of antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
But what exactly do antioxidant vitamins do?
Oxygen radicals are everywhere because we live in an atmosphere that contains oxygen. Oxidation is a process that naturally occurs in the body and a natural consequence of it are the radical particles that have since been dubbed as “free radicals.”
Scientists point to these so-called free radicals as the culprits when it comes to most degenerative diseases. Free radicals are blamed for even the simplest of illnesses, such as colds. There is an increasing body of evidence that oxidative stress is linked to many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders, cataracts, and arthritis. Our strongest defenses against these harmful free radicals are antioxidant vitamins which are contained in the foods that we eat.