Dr. Weil describes antioxidants and why they are important for women.
Antioxidants are natural compounds that are found in the diet. Many of them are in fruits and vegetables and are the pigments in fruits and vegetables: the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple pigments that give fruits and vegetables their different colors. There also are powerful antioxidants in tea, in red wine, in dark chocolate, and a number of key vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin E, the carotene, beta-carotene, selenium, also are antioxidants.
The reason these are important is that normal metabolism creates oxidative stress. We have to burn fuels with oxygen and that process creates a lot of damaging molecules in the body that can damage cells and constituents of cells, and that oxidative damage accumulates over time.
In addition, we are exposed to toxins, like second-hand smoke, that are powerful oxidizing agents, and our body depends on antioxidant defenses to counteract that damage. And one way we can bolster those defenses is by making sure that the diet is rich in these natural antioxidant compounds.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, The Natural Mind. From 1971-75, as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971-84 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.