Guest Author: Brittany Cines
Free radicals. Doesn’t the name alone sound threatening? Good thing we have antioxidants to protect us!
Free radicals are chemicals that are produced by the body when food is broken down, or from environmental threats such as cigarette smoke and radiation. These chemicals are dangerous to our health because they work by stealing electrons from other substances in our body, damaging cells, and leading to many diseases such as heart disease, liver disease and cancer. Luckily we have antioxidants, which work to counter the negative effects of free radicals by donating electrons. Just think of antioxidants as the good guy in our story and free radicals as the bad guy.
Now that we understand the role antioxidants play in our body, we must know where to find these saviors. Antioxidants are found in many foods that contain vitamins and minerals such as, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, and more. While it may seem like a no brainer to just go out and buy huge bottles of these vitamins and minerals from our nearest drug store, this has not been found to be as beneficial as you might think. Instead, try increasing your consumption of foods high in antioxidants like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, grains, tea, herbs, and even dark chocolate! Antioxidants from food can be the most effective way to slow aging and avoid many of the diseases caused by free radicals. They are the true superhero!
My passion for cooking really began when my mom signed me up for my first cooking classes at the age of 8. My love for food and cooking continued to grow stronger as I took every child, teen and adult class that was offered at my cooking school. Towards the end of high school, I expanded my love for cooking as I started to develop an interest in healthy eating. I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Dietetics. Throughout college, I held a job as a Student Nutritionist for the University of Maryland Dining Services, and I interned at The National Institutes of Health, the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, as well as at Suburban Hospital. In the fall I will begin my Dietetic Internship at the National Institutes of Health. Following the completion of this yearlong internship I plan to sit for my certification examination, in order to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). I am so excited to be involved with this blog, because it fits in perfectly with my passion, and it allows me to share some of the topics I have learned about in my nutrition courses and throughout work experiences.
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