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October 5, 2009

Anti-Oxidants – the how, what & why.

I am not going to lie to you – all this training has me a little sluggish. In my first block for our crazy challenge next year I have racked up around 150 hours of training in the last 9 weeks. I have also got a new business up and running, and dealing with quite a bit of personal stress.

I have a rest week this week, thankfully, to try piece back my niggles into strengths and get back into the full swing by next week. A while back I was taught about anti-oxidants by my missus and whilst listening to her go on about Star Trek type “evil” things, the following was really the message to take to heart:

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals.

Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. Indeed, a recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.

Why do we need them? Because if we don’t take them to combat Free Radicals, which make you old and decrepit faster than Usain Bolt on the corner in Berlin in the 200m final.

Another thing to consider is Carotenoids (hence the Star Trek reference):

In human beings, carotenoids can serve several important functions. The most widely studied and well-understood nutritional role for carotenoids is their provitamin A activity. Deficiency of vitamin A is a major cause of premature death in developing nations, particularly among children. Vitamin A, which has many vital systemic functions in humans, can be produced within the body from certain carotenoids, notably beta-carotene (Britton et al. 1995). Dietary beta-carotene is obtained from a number of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, peaches, apricots, and sweet potatoes (Mangels et al. 1993). Other provitamin A carotenoids include alpha-carotene (found in carrots, pumpkin, and red and yellow peppers) and cryptoxanthin (from oranges, tangerines, peaches, nectarines, and papayas).

Carotenoids also play an important potential role in human health by acting as biological antioxidants, protecting cells and tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals and singlet oxygen. Lycopene, the hydrocarbon carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color, is particularly effective at quenching the destructive potential of singlet oxygen (Di Mascio et al. 1989). Lutein and zeaxanthin, xanthophylls found in corn and in leafy greens such as kale and spinach, are believed to function as protective antioxidants in the macular region of the human retina (Snodderly 1995). Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll found in salmon, shrimp, and other seafoods, is another naturally occurring xanthophyll with potent antioxidant properties (Di Mascio et al. 1991). Other health benefits of carotenoids that may be related to their antioxidative potential include enhancement of immune system function (Bendich 1989), protection from sunburn (Matthews-Roth, 1990), and inhibition of the development of certain types of cancers (Nishino 1998).

Riiight…. basically they are your first line of defence against free radicals.

Now, as a guy who hangs out in lycra in the sun alot (not like this, more like this, albeit not much better) I need to be quite aware of these things, as they do take a toll on my body and do NOT help my long term plan of becoming a male supermodel at 50. You get it…

So this week I undertook the notion to get some quality anti-oxidants. I have long been a fan of Wellness Warehouse and their website is the bomb diggity, so I checked there and found something I particularly liked, called Phyto Organix. Check this out…

They looked about the best, based on what I could read up on in an hour this morning. Here is the low down:

Look at it this way…..

Simply put, good nutrition converts into vital energy, good looking skin, hair and nails, strong bones and great health.

Modern lifestyles don’t often allow enough time for healthy food preparation and purchase and we often end up eating on the run or without full awareness of what we are consuming. Besides that; pollution, artificial additives, unhealthy habits and a whole lot of other factors compromise optimum health.

To guard against the negative factors and to provide essential, vital nutrition Phyto Organix have put together 4 of the worlds super fruits in vegan friendly tablet form.

NONI FRUIT known as the Queen of Health Plants
The Noni fruit is known to be immune boosting, supportive of healthy cellular tissue growth, antibacterial, antiseptic and rich in amino acids

ACAI FRUIT from the Brazilian rain forests
Acai fruit is highly nutritious and contains anthocyanins, fibre, sterols, gallic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, protein, Omega-6 fatty acid, Omega-9 fatty acid, B vitamins and vitamins C and E.

POMEGRANITE FRUIT ancient symbol of fertility
Pomegranite is extremely rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A, B, and C, tannins, and oxalic acid. It tones the heart, liver and kidneys and is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial

MANGOSTEEN FRUIT tropical South East Asian fruit
Mangosteen fruit has powerful phyto-nutrient antioxidants with xanthones. Xanthones are biologically active plant phenols with antioxidant properties to help find and destroy roaming free radicals.

Personally I went for the Pomagranite & Noni and went to their Kloof Street branch to go collect some. They are well priced, and look better than fat burners & sleeping tablets in your bathroom, both which can be avoided by eating properly and getting adequate sleep.

I will give you an update on how they are going and if the missus sees a change in my skin as I never notice, but she always does…

Anti-oxidants = NOT COOL. That’s the basic message here. Do something about it.

4 Comments on “Anti-Oxidants – the how, what & why.

Doc G
October 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Supplements are a cop out. It demonstrates a lack of commitment to real change and real health. The excuse of “I take them because I don’t have time to eat well” is BS. All of the ingredients supplement companies jam into a pill are available in the fruit and veg section of your local grocery store. Better yet they are fresh and unprocessed.

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Urban Ninja
October 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

thanks Andy.

I agree with what you saying, but I still feel something natural that can help you get back up to speed if your levels are low (I had my carotanoids tested a while ago and they were shocking – going for another test in 4 weeks time, you do them 12 weeks apart) in CONJUNCTION with a lifestyle/eating/planning change, then you might help undo some damage quicker until you are in a place to totally rely on your foods.

You also need to remember that our “healthy”, “organic” foods in SA are BS as well I had a look through the requirements, and you basically just pay for a permit. Its a big problem with the wines here as well. Our real food supply is limited and about twice the price of “normal” food.

Biggest factors – use sunscreen, eat healthy (as unprocessed as possible) and sleep regular hours. Oh, and cut the stress, which is something most Saffa’s are really bad at.

thanks for the comment. Raoul

Reply
Urban Ninja
October 5, 2009 at 7:59 pm

thanks Andy.

I agree with what you saying, but I still feel something natural that can help you get back up to speed if your levels are low (I had my carotanoids tested a while ago and they were shocking – going for another test in 4 weeks time, you do them 12 weeks apart) in CONJUNCTION with a lifestyle/eating/planning change, then you might help undo some damage quicker until you are in a place to totally rely on your foods.

You also need to remember that our “healthy”, “organic” foods in SA are BS as well I had a look through the requirements, and you basically just pay for a permit. Its a big problem with the wines here as well. Our real food supply is limited and about twice the price of “normal” food.

Biggest factors – use sunscreen, eat healthy (as unprocessed as possible) and sleep regular hours. Oh, and cut the stress, which is something most Saffa’s are really bad at.

thanks for the comment. Raoul
BTW I love your blog!

Reply
Doc G
October 6, 2009 at 4:50 am

That did sound a bit harsh, sorry bro.

I guess we are lucky in the Sates to have the selection we do. The choice here is a good thing but sometimes just too much. All those starving people in the world and we have mind boggling choices.

I never really understood the role nutrition played in health until I experimented on myself. It’s all words without substance until one sees the results for oneself. I guess we all just do what we can.

Loving the urban-ninja vibe. Read it everyday so thanks for what you are doing.

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