Antioxidants: our protector against environmental stress and internal inflammation

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By Dr. Sacha Elliott • April 19th, 2012 • 13872 Views

Antioxidants: our protector against environmental stress and internal inflammation
body.  Smoking and regular alcohol intake as well as a diet low in fruits and vegetables has been linked to low beta-carotene levels.  Beta-carotene has been associated with a reduced cancer rate involving certain cells of the lungs, skin, cervix and gastrointestinal tract. Foods that are rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes and yams, carrots, kale, spinach, winter squash and cilantro.  The immune and reproductive systems are greatly enhanced with proper dietary sources of beta-carotene.

You can think of bioflavonoids as being our protector against environmental stress and internal inflammation.   In addition, they appear to modify the body’s allergic reactions and responses to viruses and carcinogens. They work synergistically with vitamin C, protecting cells from oxidative damage and improving blood vessel integrity.  A noticeable sign of flavonoid deficiency is easy bruising and frequent nose or gum bleeds.  Great dietary sources are apples, citrus fruits, berries, onions, parsley, tomatoes, black beans and green tea.  

Coenzyme Q10 is especially beneficial for energy production in the cells of the heart muscle.  Your heart is the one muscle in your body that never relaxes – think about it.  From virtually the moment you’re conceived (ok, give or take a few weeks while the heart develops) to the moment you die (80 years? 90?) your heart does a fantastic job of continually contracting and relaxing to support your life.  Heart disease, stroke and cancer are the three leading causes of death, so we should do everything possible to reduce our risk factors. Coenzyme Q10 plays a role in reversing heart-related diseases.

Antioxidants are crucial additions to any anti-aging or life extension regimen and should be a large part of a healthy diet.  I generally recommend a vegetable to fruit ratio of 4 to 1, and ideally we would aim for 4 to 5 cups of brightly colored and dark leafy green veggies every day and 1 to 2 servings of fruit to ensure adequate antioxidant status.  Let’s slow the aging process and focus on preventative health!

Dr. Sacha Elliott is a naturopathic physician and splits her time between practicing in North Vancouver at Canopy Integrated Health and in Squamish at Squamish Therapeutics.  She focuses on motivating, educating and empowering her patients to create balance in their physical, mental and emotional health.  Dr. Elliott sees and treats a variety of health conditions and has a special interest in women’s health, gastrointestinal disorders, weight management, detoxification, mental/emotional imbalance, stress management, and...


Dr. Sacha Elliott

Location:  North Vancouver, CA

Dr. Sacha Elliott, ND has a family practice in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver at Canopy Integrated Health (Canopyhealth.ca).  She focuses on motivating, educating and empowering her patients to create balance in their physical, mental and emotional...