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Antioxidants in Foods to improve Mood and Memory

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The power of antioxidants in your food can help you feel and think well, as well as fight cancer and keep a healthy weight.

Antioxidants work against free radicals, which damage cells. Consuming foods high in antioxidants can improve your memory and mood. Some examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamins C, E, and A. Foods high in antioxidants are often colorful items containing beta-carotene.

Antioxidants Destroy Free Radicals

Antioxidants exist in numerous foods and by eating these foods you can help reverse memory loss, and be more coordinated because of the reduction of free radicals, which impairs the human brain. Free radicals are particles and unstable molecules that destroy cells, sometimes leading to cancer. Free radicals are in the environment from chemicals that humans utilize for various industries and in their homes.

Consuming berries, apples, cherries, spinach and ginko biloba which are all high in antioxidants will help improve your memory and mood. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the antioxidants in ginko biloba can be used for helping Alzheimer's patients.

Antioxidant Rich Foods

The National Cancer Society also recommends eating colorful fruits, vegetables and foods that are high in selenium – a mineral and antioxidant enzyme. Selenium is most commonly found in the soil for plants such as rice. The selenium in wheat fed to grass-fed animals, not necessarily all commercially processed meat, is also a good source of antioxidants which can help improve memory and mood. Another source of selenium for vegans is Brazil nuts. Some of the richest foods in antioxidants are prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, garlic, kale, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and spinach.

Cooking and Antioxidants

Heating foods to a cooked temperature can destroy some vitamins, but it also enhances antioxidant consumption. According to the University of California's Department of Mathematics cooking foods such as tomatoes and spinach actually increases the antioxidants from the lycopene in tomatoes, and the lutein of green spinach. The plant cells open up, increasing the absorption of the nutrients and antioxidants. Some vitamins are lost in cooking. Eating a varied diet of both cooked and raw vegetables and fruits reduces your need to take supplements.

Alternate Names for Vitamins A, C and E

There are three antioxidant forms of vitamin A-retinol (vitamin A1), 3, 4-didehydroretinol (vitamin A2), and 3-hydroxy-retinol (vitamin A3). Vitamin A foods that help with mood, memory and other brain functions are liver, egg yolks, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin E is also known as alpha-tocopherol, and is found in almonds, safflower oil, soybeans, and broccoli. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid.

There are an abundance of foods which are rich in these vitamins and antioxidants, and to get the most out of them you should purchase whole food in season that is free of pesticides and other free-radicals. The consumption of these antioxidant rich foods will improve mood & memory.

Sources:

Epigee. “Mental Health-Mind Enhancement " (accessed October 7, 2010).

Your Family Clinic. "Foods and Vitamins that Help Brain Development" (accessed October 7, 2010).

National Cancer Institute. "Antioxidant and Cancer Prevention Fact Sheet" (accessed October 7, 2010).

Health Learning Info. "Does Cooking Destroy Nutrients" (accessed October 7, 2010).

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