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Vitamins and Antioxidants for Weight Loss

Each week we’ll be pulling out one of your emails from our mail bag and featuring them here. Feel free to submit as many questions as you would like. All questions having to do with Nutrition, Weight Loss of all kinds such as lower body weight loss and Obesity-related health conditions are fair game.

“Dr. Kim,

I have a family history of heart disease; my brother had a heart attack at 66 years of age. Are there any vitamins I can take to reduce my risk for heart disease? I’ve heard a lot about antioxidants. Can they help
?"

- Scott (Yorba Linda)

Can antioxidants help prevent heart disease?

First of all, what are antioxidants?

  • Antioxidants are substances found naturally in many foods that reduce damage caused by unstable molecules or atoms, also known as free radicals.

How do free radicals cause damage?

  • Free radicals occur naturally as byproducts of chemical reactions that take place in our bodies. However, exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke and sunlight can increase the number of free radicals.
  • Free radicals can damage tissues, cell membranes and DNA, which may lead to certain cancers and other diseases.

The role of antioxidants

  • Antioxidants help to stabilize free radicals and prevent them from doing damage.

Food sources of antioxidants

Type of antioxidant

Foods

Beta carotene

Sweet potatoes, carrots, squash cantaloupe, pumpkins, apricots, mangos, collard greens, spinach and kale

Lycopene

Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, guava and papaya

Vitamin A

Liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, egg yolks, kale and spinach

Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries and tomatoes

Vitamin E

Almonds, asparagus, avocado, wheat germ, olives, spinach, nuts, seeds, kiwi and vegetable oils

Antioxidants and heart disease

  • It is believed that free radicals contribute to plaque build-up in blood vessel walls, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Since antioxidants help to stabilize free radicals, much research has been done to evaluate antioxidant supplement use in preventing heart disease.
  • Antioxidants in foods are known to have health-promoting properties. However, it is uncertain whether or not antioxidant supplements offer the same health-promoting benefits.
  • In some studies, taking high levels of antioxidant supplements have been found to have harmful effects.

Therefore, the safest bet is to get your antioxidants from nutritious foods, rather than supplements, in preventing heart disease.

What’s great about working with a medical weight loss center is that not only do you have access to diet plans, a FDA approved weight loss program, safe appetite suppressants and a medical weight loss clinic, you have a place to ask questions, get tips and discover creative weight management programs that allow you to get long-lasting results. It’s the best way to truly change your lifestyle and create a healthier you.

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