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Athletes have higher pulmonary capacity than that of sedentary people. In
fact, athletes consume between 12 to 20 times more oxygen per minute than
someone who doesn't work out. Although this translates into a better athletic
performance, it also means an increased production of free radicals.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that can destroy cells and cause
degenerative diseases. They're formed during metabolism or due to exposure to
environmental factors such as inhaling tobacco smoke.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are the body's first line of defense against free radicals.
They're known as 'free radical scavengers' and protect cells from
being destroyed by them.
Under normal conditions, the body's internal defense system does a pretty good
job protecting our cells.
But, as we have seen, athletes produce more free
radicals than sedentary people and so are more exposed to their harmful
effects. Several studies have shown that athletes who consume antioxidants are
able to recover fast from workouts.
A scientific study published in the European
Journal of Nutrition evaluated the relation between antioxidant consumption and
levels of oxidative stress in basketball players. Some athletes were given 1 g of vitamin C, 600
mg of vitamin E and 32 mg of beta-carotene for a whole season.
Others were given a placebo instead. The supplemented group experienced
a significant decrease in both lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress levels
How many antioxidants a day?
The number of antioxidants you need to consume every day will depend on
a handful of factors:
1 - Duration and intensity of the workout: the longer you workouts are,
the more antioxidants you need;
2 - Body fat percentage: the higher your body fat percentage is, the
more antioxidants you need.
3 - Age: people over 30 have higher antioxidants needs.
4 - Diet: The less vegetables and fruits you eat daily, the greater your
antioxidant needs are.
5 - Environment: highly polluted areas and stressful workplaces increase