If you’ve ever seen an ad for an “age-defying” skin cream, you know antioxidants have tremendous protective powers. They shield us from free radicals, the molecules which cause oxidation in our cells, damaging tissues and accelerating aging.
Cell oxidation occurs below the skin, too, and throughout our entire body. When LDL (bad cholesterol) is oxidized, it is more toxic to the lining of the artery walls and much more likely to accumulate within plaque. Antioxidants help prevent LDL oxidation, lowering its negative effects. So antioxidants are also important for preventing heart disease.
So, what’s the best way to get these oxidation fighters into our systems? Antioxidants come primarily from plants, especially fruits and vegetables Unfortunately, fewer than 1 in 10[i] (yes, 1 in 10!) Americans are eating the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Instead, we’ve turned to vitamins and dietary supplements, spending $23 billion[ii] every year.
While studies confirm that populations who eat plant-based diets have lower rates of chronic diseases, studies of antioxidant supplements have found few, if any, health benefits.
Why is this?
Nutrients have their maximum health impact when they’re consumed in their most natural form. There is simply something magical about a blueberry.
Think about it this way: You can’t extract the vitamin C from blueberries, put it in a pill –and then take it with a doughnut and expect the same health benefit. The body knows how to use the vitamin C when it travels with all the other phytochemicals and micronutrients in a blueberry. It doesn’t know how to use a random influx of the same vitamin traveling with an unrelated food substance.
Plus, those other, less well defined, components of the blueberry may be just as important for good health.
Every contributor to the high antioxidant content of Step One Foods comes from a plant and is real and whole. In other words, all our antioxidants arrive in their natural form so that they can have the maximum possible impact in your body.
And in case you were wondering, Pycnogenol® is a fancy name for ground whole pine bark, which is naturally very high in antioxidants. Early explorers who suffered from scurvy discovered the power of pine and often boiled pine needles to make tea.