Antioxidants are substances that help prevent and protect the body cells and tissues against damage from free radicals. By doing so, antioxidants may help prevent diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants are found in several of the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets.

What is a free radical
A free radical is an organic molecule that is responsible for aging, tissue damage and some diseases. They are very harmful to your overall health.

What is the role of antioxidants
Antioxidants combat free radicals in the body. Without enough antioxidants the free radicals can multiply which puts stress on the body’s defences. Exercise is one such stimulus that places stress on the body and can considerably increase the free radical content within the body’s tissues. In order for the body to cope with the level of free radicals caused by exercise it needs the correct level of antioxidants. For this reason it is now widely accepted that a good multi vitamin is one of the most important supplements that we take .

Which vitamins and minerals contain antioxidants
Vitamin A – Helps to maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue. It also promotes good vision.
Vitamin C – Helps protect cells, helps wound healing and is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue.
Vitamin E – Helps maintain cell structure by protecting cell membranes.
Zinc – Essential for growth, protein production, immune function, wound healing and bone and teeth formation.
Manganese – Helps with healthy bone structure, formation of connective tissues and regulation of blood sugar levels.
Copper – Helps proper growth of the body and can give improved health to connective tissues, hair and eyes.
Selenium – Good for overall skin health .
What are the best sources of antioxidants
People who eat a diet rich in antioxidants are thought to be less prone to hear attack, stroke, cataracts and some cancers. The following foods are good sources of antioxidants:

Broccoli – High in vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese and selenium
Carrots – High in vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese
Peppers – High in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E and manganese
Nuts and seeds – High in vitamin E, manganese, zinc and copper
Wholegrains – High in zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium
So hopefully you now understand why the body needs antioxidants for health and if your exercising hard then you really should be supplementing with a good multi vitamin, such as Elite Man or Elite Woman. It also worth considering ZMA.

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