We can leverage control over our diet and lifestyle choices, but let’s not forget there are other factors out there that we can’t always control. Like it or not, we often come into contact with environmental toxins like pesticides in our food, metals in our water, and pollutants in our air. Let’s take air pollution. Research shows that breathing in toxins is associated with a range of respiratory and cardiovascular health effects, likely through the mechanism of creating free radicals and increasing oxidative stress, harming our cells and promoting aging.1,2

Antioxidants are our best defense for neutralizing free radicals, but we need enough in our systems to maintain balance. Since diet is the main source of antioxidants, it’s important that we consume adequate amounts for protection, but let’s face it, most of us don’t eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as we should.2 Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E are potent allies in the fight against free radicals and oxidative stress.3 The best way to get these and other antioxidant nutrients is through eating whole foods like leafy green vegetables, berries, carrots, sweet potatoes, summer and winter squash. Even dark chocolate contains some antioxidant nutrients. To ensure we’re arming ourselves with enough antioxidants, taking supplements is a proven way to help bridge nutrient gaps.

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  1. Migliore L, Coppede F. Environmental-induced oxidative stress in neurodegenerative disorders and aging. Mutat Res. 2009 Mar; 674(1-2): 73-84. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2008.09.013.
  2. Romieu I, et al. Air pollution, oxidative stress and dietary supplementation: a review. Eur Respir J. 2008; 31(1): 179-97. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00128106.
  3. Traber MG, Stevens JF. Vitamins C and E: Beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 Sept; 51(5): 1000-13. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.05.017.