Everyone would like to mature gracefully. Some go under the knife to catch that youthful look while some opt for a more natural way to keep that healthful glow. The way to reconcile with age can be obtained in the kinds of foods that we eat up and the miracle ingredient they carry.

This shrouded "miracle" is known as antioxidants. They have adorned the pages of magazines, medical journals and every merchandise from hand cream to supplement pills. But what are antioxidants and what could they do to keep you looking at your best?

Antioxidants are substances that battle the aging process that happens in your body. They are not developed by the body so to get the benefit of these power-packed substances you need to ingest them. An assortment of foods contain antioxidants.

Let's go back to the start. The body continually refills its cells. Through a process called cellular metabolism, the body creates energy, more cells and fixes any damage. One by-product of cellular the body's metabolism is unstable molecules called free radicals.

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Free radicals are molecules that harm your body. They are unstable because they're lacking an electron. To get another one and get stable, free radicals will steal electrons from cells. That stealing hurts the cells in a variety of ways.

The results are both visible and invisible changes to our bodies. The maturation of diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and neurological deficiencies may start to affect you as you age. Also, thinner skin wrinkles and weak bones are a problem. Free radicals get in our body from external sources as well: cigarette smoke, radiation and the sun's UV rays. The more free radicals we come across, the greater the damage that can be done.

Antioxidants have been proven to be of great help in the free radical problem. Antioxidant substances merge with free radicals and neutralize them. Once they are neutralized, they can no longer do any harm. Scientists do not have any approximation of a prescribed daily dose of antioxidants to correct free radical damage and the diseases that accompany age, but they do know that eating foods rich in antioxidants makes a large difference in how we live.

Where do you locate antioxidants? They are everywhere. Look no further than your local farmer's market or produce aisle in the grocery. Fruits and vegetables hold in the principal sources of antioxidants.

Examples of antioxidants include:

* Vitamin C

* Vitamin A

* Vitamin E

* Lutein

* Lycopene

* Beta-carotene

Certain minerals like zinc and selenium also work in the body. They're not antioxidants but they supercharge the immune system to battle against free radical damage.

Other foods include nuts, legumes, cold water fish, seafood and red meat. So, eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables and the foods just named will increase the amount of antioxidants in your body and help bring down the incidence of disease. Eating fruits and vegetables in their natural form rather than juices brings the benefit of other nutrients found in the foods. Juices also hold in a lot of sugar that is not needed by your body.