The First Group of Players on Your Team - Vitamins
The first group of players on your team is vitamins. If you're like most teenagers, you've probably heard one of your parents say, "Eat your vegetables - they are packed with vitamins!" Vitamins are compounds found in abundance in whole, fresh foods. Your body needs them to function properly and each one has a special role to play.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body, mainly in fat tissues and the liver. Vitamins A, D, E. and K are fat-soluble, meaning they dissolve in fat but not in water. They are happy to remain stored in your body and the body's own intelligence will send them to where they are needed at the right time.
Water-soluble vitamins are different. They really can't be stored in the body for very long. That's because these vitamins dissolve in water, so extra amounts are carried out of your body. Because they don't stick around, you need to replenish them every day. Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are watersoluble. Click here for more information.
Nutrients and the Body's Defenses
In order for the immune system to function at its best it must have access to nutrients. For this reason, individuals who are malnourished develop more infections than individuals who are well-nourished. Some of the effects of malnutrition on the body's immune system are a thinning of the skin with less connective tissue, weakness, poor wound healing, and a lack of defense against disease. So, an important key to health and longevity is a nutritionally well balanced diet and supplementation when necessary.
Here is a smal sampling of nutrients and their relationship to a healthy functioning immune system:
- Vitamin A helps support immunity by playing a role in the development of helper cells.
- Vitamin A maintains healthy epithelial tissues to fight infection by preventing the invasion of bacteria and viruses.
- Vitamin C strengthens our resistance to infection.
- Vitamin E protects white and red blood cells, thus participating in the body's defenses against foreign material and disease.
- Iron helps fight infection.
- Magnesium supports normal functioning of the immune system.
- Manganese is a facilitator, with enzymes, of many cell processes.
Source: Understanding Nutrition, 7th Edition
Antioxidants and Health
Just like rust on a car, oxidation can damage our body's cells and may contribute to the breakdown of healthy immunity and speed up the aging process. Oxidation happens as the result of damaging free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that form in the body as a result of normal body metabolism, over-exercise, stress, being exposed to dirty air and other environmental pollutants.
Antioxidants help prevent oxidation by counteracting free radicals.* They do this by binding to them and transforming them into non-damaging compounds. Consequently, antioxidants are integral in supporting the body's natural defense system.*
Powerful antioxidants include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, Coenzyme Q10, and garlic. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and green tea all contain antioxidants as well. These important nutrients and foods support a healthy body in the production of healthy cells which is the best strategy for protection against free radical damage and consequently the development of serious health challenges.
As we age, free radical levels in the body increase so that a continuous intake of antioxidants is important to assure overall health and protection. Antioxidant intake along with exercise, a positive attitude and an overall healthful diet are invaluable tools to defend against cell damage and prolong a healthy life, full life.
*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease.
This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Vitamin E And Selenium Thought To Suppress The Formation Of Prostate Cancer
According to researchers at the University of Toronto, antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, have the ability to provide the prostate with protection against oxidative damage that can be caused by environmental factors thought to be associated with the formation of prostate cancer. For more information, go to Source: Urology, Volume 57, pages 90-94.