Enhancing Weight Loss with AntioxidantsPublished:October 28th, 2011
Losing weight and maintaining it at your goal weight is life long commitment. To effectively lose weight and keep it off, you must make lifestyle changes involving dietary, exercise and behavior. You lose some nutrients while you are losing weight. To prevent complications and deficiency, you must have a balanced diet. Be sure to include vitamin and antioxidant rich foods in your diet so you can preserve your nutritional stores.
An antioxidant is something that protects the body cells from the harm caused by free radicals. A free radical is an atomic particle that is missing an electron and causes oxidation, which destroys a normal body cell. You are exposed to free radicals if you come in contact with radiation, nitrous oxide, heavy metals like mercury, saturated fat, alcohol and pollutants. In short, there is a good chance that everyone has some exposure to free radicals on a regular basis.
To understand how antioxidants help with weight loss, take a closer look at how you are burning fat. There are two types of fat in the body – essential fats, which are needed for many functions and stored fat, which protects the organs and provides energy when needed. Fat is stored in the form of adipose tissue which is comprised of 80 percent lipids and the other 20 percent includes blood vessels, hormones and some nutrients. When you lose weight, you are losing some nutrients along with fat. You are also creating more free radicals. Free radicals try to attach to normal cell to stabilize itself, which oxidizes the normal cell and more free radicals are produced. This process continues until antioxidants are released by the body and the process stopped. Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants speeds up this process and protects your cells from damage.
Food is the best source of antioxidants. According to the American Dietetic Association, eating 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day will provide you with adequate amount of antioxidants. Choosing fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach, berries, citrus fruits and wheat germ instead of processed foods, simple carbohydrates and fatty foods can help with weight loss. Increased consumption of the antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables also provide additional fiber and vitamins needed for normal body functions. Antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, herbs and spices such as cinnamon and turmeric provide an anti-inflammatory effect in the body and phytonutrients, which are exclusive to plant foods, has proven to help fight obesity.
By including at least two vegetable servings at each meal can help reduce the portions sizes of higher calorie content foods. By using fruits as desserts can cut back on fattening desserts. Eating more fruits and vegetables increases your antioxidant intake and helps you cut down on high calorie foods. Antioxidant-rich diets such as the Mediterranean diet are heart-healthy and help with weight management. Green tea, which also contains antioxidants, may help boost metabolism and burn fat. However, the most effective means of weight loss remains consuming fewer calories than you burn. Choosing high fiber and nutrient rich foods instead of high caloric and fattening foods will provide the desired effect for weight loss.