Can Antioxidants Really Improve Your Health?
Credit: Fruits & vegetables photo via Shutterstock

"The Healthy Geezer" answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column.

Question: What are antioxidants and how do they contribute to good health?

Answer: As you process food, you make substances called "free radicals," which are believed to contribute to aging and certain diseases. To neutralize free radicals, your body uses antioxidants that come from your food. Proponents believe that antioxidants can prevent chronic diseases.

The following are some antioxidants: vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, folic acid and selenium.

The best way to give your body the antioxidants it needs is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. There's no proof that antioxidants in pill form can improve your general health or extend your life.

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Ingredients in supplements can cause harmful interactions with your medications and serious side effects.

In addition to eating a varied diet, try the following for attaining good health:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise daily
  • Go to the doctor when you're sick
  • Go to the doctor when you're well to get screened for disease.
  • Don't smoke
  • Use sunscreen
  • Stay close to your friends and family

If you would like to read more columns, you can order a copy of "How to be a Healthy Geezer" at http://www.healthygeezer.com.

All rights reserved © 2012 by Fred Cicetti