Antioxidants and muscles
Antioxidants refers to a group of compounds that fights free radicals. A free radical is group of atoms or simply atoms that have an odd number of electrons and can form when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once this happens and a few free radicals form, a chain reaction occurs and they take over your immune system and other physiological functions and have a very negative effect on your body.
Without going into the scientific details, a by-product of exercise (using oxygen for muscle contraction) is the presence of free radicals (oxidation). If not removed, these free radicals will damage every muscle cell that they make contact with and are a key factor in why we are sore for four-to-five-days after exercise and require long rest periods between exercising muscle groups. Basically, these free radicals are molecules with an electron missing. These molecules then begin to steal the missing electrons from our good cells causing extensive damage to the body.
Berries – Are full of powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins which help maintain muscle and may prevent cancer.
Anti-oxidant Rich Teas – Green tea, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea, and black tea contain antioxidants called polyphenols that protect your cells from free radical damage.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage are known as cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are high in fiber, rich in vitamin C, very low in calories, and a good source of healthful phytonutrients. Eating cruciferous vegetables is a good way to take in important micronutrients without taking in a lot of calories. Bodybuilders wishing to lose bodyfat will find cruciferous vegetables to be a good addition to a their focused diet. Try to get three or more servings of these vegetables each week. It’s also interesting to note that cruciferous vegetables can be a dieting bodybuilder’s best friend, as in many cases they require more calories to be digested than they provide.
Allium Vegetables: Allium vegetables, such as garlic, chives, onions, scallions, and leeks, are a flavorful way to add healthful nutrients to a bodybuilder’s diet. The benefits of garlic and other allium vegetables may come from their abundant flavonoids, such as quercetin, and also from their sulfur-containing compounds. Allium vegetables may be more beneficial when uncooked. So you may want to add them to sandwiches, salads, salad dressings, and other raw recipes to get the most from them.
Vitamin C: is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is used to form collagen, a protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It is also essential for the healing of wounds, and for the repair and maintenance of people's cartilage, bones, and teeth. C also helps with blood pressure by strengthening the walls of the arteries. It can also prevent damage to cells caused by aging as well as help reduce stress.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant which reduces the build-up of oxidation or free radical damage caused by exercise and physical activity. In studies done at Tufts University in Massachusetts, vitamin E doses of 200 to 400 I.U. provided a reduction in muscle soreness in younger men who exercised, but did not exercise everyday. Eating foods rich in vitamin E, such as almonds, sunflower seeds and wheat germ, help restore glycogen to the muscles which reduces soreness.
Selenium: A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition included 891 men and women age 65 and older. Researchers measured blood selenium levels and tested muscle strength by looking at hip flexion, knee extension and hand grip. During six years of followup, those with the lowest selenium levels and weakest muscles were found to be the least likely to survive. This finding is consistent with those from previous studies linking both muscle weakness and low selenium levels to increased mortality.
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Adrian Udrea- sports nutritionist