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The Antioxidant Solution to Wellness and Weight-Loss O


By Susan and Peter Henry


besity is the world’s #1 health problem. Two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese, and childhood obesity rates are triple what they


were only a generation ago. The grim reality is that today’s generation of children will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.


How did we get here? A big component of the obesity problem is the free radical problem. Free radicals are “rogue” molecules that rob electrons from other molecules, which then in turn also become “free radicals” and pinball around our bodies, creating a continuous cycle of damage and destruction to our cells, tissues and organs. Numerous stud- ies demonstrate that one effect of free radicals is unwanted weight gain. Researchers at Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found a direct correlation between oxidative stress (free radical damage) and increased obesity.


What causes free radicals? Our environment is liter- ally assaulting us with toxins that cause free radicals. These destructive toxins are everywhere – in our food, air and water, and in our homes, workplaces and automobiles. Toxins create oxidation in our bodies when they rob stable molecules of an electron, thus converting them to unstable molecules known as free radicals. The average person now has an estimated 300 known toxins in their tissues – toxins that were not in existence prior to 1940. These toxins work on multiple fronts: interfering with metabolism, disrupting the brain’s weight-control systems, overloading the liver and kidney detoxification systems, and contributing to metabolic syndrome. All this can lead to chronic weight gain and obesi- ty. The end result is chaos in our bodies and some of society’s most critical health issues, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.


Antioxidants to the Rescue! Luckily, Mother Nature created an instant fix to the free radical problem - antioxi- dants. Antioxidants disable free radicals by donating elec- trons to replace those lost during oxidation. Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, spices and other foods. However, unlike many nutrients, the body cannot store antioxidants so the supply must be con- tinually replenished. It is important to consume antioxidants throughout the day to keep levels high. Even small amounts of the right foods can provide significant benefits. A diet rich in antioxidants can be one of the best ways to lose those unwanted pounds, feel a surge of youthful energy, and have glowing skin and a sharper mental focus.


Which foods have the most antioxidants? The most popular method of testing foods for their antioxidant capac- ity is the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity) test. ORAC refers to the levels of antioxidant nutrients in a specific food. Foods high in ORAC include: strawberries,


46 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


blueberries, green apples, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and green tea. The number one high-ORAC food is unprocessed cacao, the primary ingredient in dark chocolate. In addi- tion, cocoa contains polyphenols which increase glutathi- one production. Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants and one of the few which are created by the body. Chocolate can also optimize the body’s production of serotonin, improve mood, decrease appetite, stabilize blood sugar levels, decrease inflammation and reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.


Antioxidants are the answer to weight loss and wellness.


Antioxidant-rich diets are the best anti-aging defense. Anti- oxidants prevent disease, improve cardiovascular health and brain function, and enhance digestion and skin health. Look for foods with certified levels of ORAC--including delicious dark chocolate!


For more information regarding High ORAC diets, weight loss and wellness; contact Susan or Peter Henry, Xocai Healthy Chocolate 919-969-7047. www.ilovehealthychocolate.com. See ad on this page.


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