Why antioxidants are important to men
November is men’s health awareness month and the ideal time for men from all walks of life to stop and take stock of their general health and wellness, with a particular focus on embracing a healthy diet.
Food fuels the body and eating the right combination of nutrients is vital to help support optimal cell and organ function. However, research has shown that women are about 50% more likely than men to eat healthier diets . In fact, women tend to eat fruits and vegetables 4.9 times per day, compared to that of men who eat fruit and vegetables 4.2 times per day .
Usually, a men’s approach towards nutrition is uncomplicated and predominantly focuses on the pleasure of eating , relying mainly on meat protein . A new study found that the strong association of meat and masculinity  has created meat-based peer pressure on men, potentially preventing them from enjoying fruits and vegetables  in social settings.
However, vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, and variety is as important as quantity especially when it comes to antioxidants, which are mainly found in plant-based foods.
An Introduction To Antioxidants
Antioxidants are defined as natural substances created by the human body that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage as a result of oxidative deterioration . Oxidation is a natural process that occurs when oxygen is metabolised in our bodies. This creates unstable molecules called ‘free radicals’, which take electrons from other molecules, causing damage to our cells . Free radicals can be formed while exercising and when the body converts food into energy. However, the body can also be exposed to free radicals from a variety of environmental sources, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and sunlight.
Even though our body is designed to cope with some of these reactive species, and needs them to effectively function , there might be a problem when there is an overload of free radicals. Hence, the antioxidants found in certain foods can potentially prevent some of the damage by neutralising the free radicals in our cells.
Strawberries: The nutritional composition of a strawberry possesses an incredible source of micronutrients, such as minerals, vitamin C, and folates, and non-nutrient elements, such as phenolic compounds. These plant compounds are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions .
Dark leafy greens: Kale, spinach, and broccoli are rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and K containing an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants that protect our cells  and are part of the antioxidant defence system .
Avocados: Fresh avocados contain a diversity of nutrients, protein, and fibre that may help sustain the energy levels throughout the day. They are also one of the few foods that contain significant levels of both vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoid antioxidants .
The power of Ubiquinol
Ubiquinol, the active form of Coenzyme Q10, is a powerful lipid antioxidant that prevents the generation of free radicals . Ubiquinol can be found in many foods, including oily fish, organ meats and whole grains. However, it is difficult to achieve the daily recommended dose without consuming excessive amounts of these foods.
If relying only on food sources, we would need to consume more than 14kg of sardines, 60 avocados, or 50 cups of spinach for example, to reach the recommended amount of 100 mg of Ubiquinol per day.
The Ubiquinol that is found naturally in foods also oxidises very quickly and is easily converted to Ubiquinone when it is cooked. To help support the replenishment of your body’s natural Ubiquinol levels, you may wish to speak to a healthcare practitioner to find out if a supplement may be right for you. Please seek advice from a healthcare practitioner to determine if supplementation is right for you. Always read the label.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.
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