Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get Your Antioxidants

Many people know that antioxidants help prevent cell damage, but what impact does this have for an athlete? Since exercise increases oxygen consumption by 10-15 fold, it is hypothesized that exercise produces a constant oxidative stress on an athlete's muscles and cells. However current research suggests that individuals who engage in regular exercise combat this by developing more advanced antioxidant systems than their TV, couch junky counterparts. There is little information to date that shows antioxidants improve physical performance if we are already eating enough of them through our diet. New research is being conducted on how Vitamin E might reduce inflammation and muscle soreness during recovery from intense exercise, yet athletes are advised not to exceed the upper tolerable limit of 1000 mg for individuals >18 years of age due to increase risk of bleeding. Rich sources of vitamin E include: oils (wheat, sunflower, safflower, soybean and corn), almonds, peanut butter, peanuts, spinach, broccoli, kiwi and mango. Vitamin C research shows that physical performance is compromised when intake is borderline or inadequate. Athletes who participate in habitual, prolonged, strenuous exercise should consume 100-1000mg of Vitamin C daily. Rich sources of Vitamin C include: papaya, red pepper, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, kiwi, broccoli, sweet and white potatoes.

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