I have to be honest with you. This was a little bit of a shock for me when I first read it. I assumed something like blueberries or the popular kale would be our biggest source of anti-oxidants. After all, we hear about these new superfoods in the media all the time. Don't get me wrong, a cup of blueberries or a plate of kale salad has a lot more anti-oxidants than a cup of coffee. The problem is that we don't consumer either one of them nearly as often and nearly as much as we do coffee. When was the last time you had a kale salad? When was the last time you had a cup of coffee? Mystery solved. But why does it matter anyway? Isn't 'anti-oxidant' just the latest buzz word in the health and wellness industry? It can feel like something that's added to smoothies, supplements, and even facial creams to help us stay younger looking and reduce the risk of cancer. While that's at least partially true, antioxidants are simply compounds found in food that help slow down the damage to our cells.
There are a lot of things in our environment - from pollution and radiation to
stress - that damage our cells and cause oxidation. Antioxidants help neutralize
some of that damage. The more of these compounds you have in your body, the
harder they can work at protecting your cells. That's why it's helpful to
consume plenty of antioxidants and to do so on a regular basis.
The damage to cells is done by free
radicals, which can infiltrate any cell and
even change our DNA. This explains why and how they can cause premature aging and even cancer. Antioxidants can bind to those free radicals and neutralize them. They are found in lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in addition to coffee (which comes from a bean). While coffee isn't the best source of antioxidant, it is one that we consume daily.
Enjoy a few cups of coffee throughout the day. Drink it black or with a splash of milk for best results. But don't rely on just coffee to protect your body against free radicals. Start by reducing the accumulation of free radicals by not smoking, staying away from environmental toxins, and reducing stress as much as possible. Overeating can cause the body to produce free radicals, so enjoy that cup of coffee instead of that second helping of dinner.
Then start to work more fresh fruits and veggies into your diet. Have a smoothie
for breakfast, load up on lettuce and veggies for lunch, and include plenty of
steamed vegetables and beans at dinner time. By cleaning up your diet and
enjoying your daily dose of delicious coffee, you can do your part to live a
happy and healthy life.