Medical research has consistently shown that essential antioxidants found in traditional diets, such as the Mediterranean and Japanese diets, help prevent major diseases such as cancer and heart disease, while strengthening the immune system and supporting the healthy functioning of the body. Consuming a diet containing 500 milligrams of essential antioxidants every day helps you attain these health benefits. However, antioxidant levels vary widely. Certified Antioxidant Superfoods provide assurance that the food products you purchase and consume contribute significantly towards your daily antioxidant intake goals.
Even though most of us are aware of the connection between essential antioxidants and health benefits, the US Food and Drug Administration has not yet published daily intake values, nor are there other published guides to help us determine how much or how frequently we should include these foods in our diet.
Why 500 milligrams/day?
Research into traditional diets provides some important clues. People eating traditional diets frequently consume at least 500 milligrams of bioflavonoids per day, while average Americans consume about 150 mg per day.
Lower Mortality Rates
Recent research comparing mortality rates from various major diseases among Okinawans, Japanese and Americans showed dramatic differences. Americans had 4 to 8 times the mortality rates as Okinawans, whose diets contain from 500 to over 2000 mg of essential antioxidants.
Foods and beverages typically associated with high antioxidant levels range widely in their essential antioxidant content, and do not always live up to their promise. Two examples are blueberries and green tea. At the high end, a single serving of each of these items can deliver a powerful punch; by contrast, at the low end, they are far less potent.
Natural variations based on genetics, growing conditions, and post-harvest handling all influence the total antioxidant content. For tea drinkers, the temperature of the water, length of brew time, and type of tea (bagged vs. loose) can influence the amount of antioxidants delivered by any particular cup.
Hollandia Produce LP is family owned and operated, is located in Carpinteria, California. The company’s Grower Pete’s and Live Gourmet® family of products are harvested with their roots intact and the lettuces are packaged in a unique see-through clamshell that functions as a mini-greenhouse. As living plants, these products have an exceptional long-lasting freshness that retains flavor and color much longer than comparable varieties in the produce department.
Hollandia Produce, LP’ Live Gourmet brand Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic brand Living Watercress are certified under SCS' new Antioxidant Superfood certification program, as containing higher levels of lutein as compared to the USDA reported average. Certification gives customers independent assurance that essential antioxidants have been documented at levels that can contribute significantly to your daily dietary intake goals.
Essential antioxidants are compounds generated by plants as a part of their defense against diseases and insects. These compounds are unique, found only in specific foods and beverages. Some of the most important classes are bioflavonoids, lutein, and lycopene.
As the word, antioxidant (against oxygen) implies, essential antioxidants, work by scavenging free radicals (overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules), preventing them from causing cell damage.
Vitamins A, C and E are incredibly important vitamins needed for a healthy diet, but provide a fraction of the antioxidant power of the essential antioxidants.
The USDA has compiled extensive research to determine the levels and types found in various foods. Examples of foods that can contain exceptional levels of essential antioxidants are cherries, pomegranate juice, radicchio, winter squash, leafy greens, tomato paste, green tea, blueberries and other berries.
Visit our Antioxidant References page for a listing of peer-reviewed research studies which examine the health benefits of antioxidants.
Check out these resources to learn more about essential antioxidants:
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