Using antioxidants as antiaging agents

Oxidation is a natural process that makes objects from food to metal decay. Cut an apple in half, come back a half-hour later, and you'll see that the apple has turned brown. Leave a piece of metal outdoors long enough, and it will rust.

Juicing your way to better nutrition

While surfing television channels in the past, you may have seen an infomercial by Jack La Lanne that touts the benefits of juicing fruits and vegetables to get optimal nutrition from your foods. La Lanne, a pioneer in the field of health and fitness who's now in his 90s, claims that the secret to his longevity is exercise and drinking plenty of fruit and vegetable juice. La Lanne is a dynamic and inspiring example of how important a healthy diet in combination with a well-balanced exercise program really is to longevity and vitality.

Juicing is a great way to include plenty of antioxidants and an array of nutrients in your diet. And it's easy. All you need is high-quality produce and a good juicer. You can buy recipe books for juicing, and your juicer may come with a recipe book to help you get started.

Follow these guidelines to make delicious and nutritious juices in your home:

t Wash all produce before juicing.

t Use only fresh fruits and vegetables, and, whenever you can, buy organic, unsprayed produce.

t Remove pits, seeds, and stems, but use the skins of fruits such as apples and peaches. You may be tempted to peel them, but the skins are full of vitamins and minerals.

t Don't juice bananas and avocados because of their low water content. You can, however, blend them with other fruits and vegetables in juices.

t Use greens, carrots, parsley, bell peppers, celery, and beets to add color to your juices. Color makes the juice more appetizing.

t Use apples, pears, grapes, and melons to sweeten your juice.

t Add a spoonful of juice pulp to your glass before you stir and drink to get more fiber in your diet.

t Make only enough juice for one day, and try to drink it immediately after juicing. Refrigerate juice immediately if you can't drink it right away.

Oxidation also occurs in your body as part of the aging process. When oxygen interacts with your cells, it can cause damage. In most cases, your body replaces the cells, but 1 to 2 percent of the cells are damaged in the course of the replacement process, and these cells produce free radicals — unstable, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals can injure cells and damage DNA, setting the stage for diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants can help reduce free-radical damage.

Examples of antioxidants include berries, prunes, plums, and raisins. Among vegetables, you can't go wrong with kale, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Be sure to include antioxidants in your diet. In addition to helping your overall health, antioxidants help your body recover from exercising, especially useful after a yoga-with-weights workout.

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