One theory of fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is that oxidative stress plays a key role and possibly a causative one as well. Evidence in support of this theory is growing - I recently reported on the latest study of oxidative stress in ME/CFS. (You can read that, along with an explanation of what oxidative stress is and how antioxidants help, here: Oxidative Stress in ME/CFS.)
You've probably heard a lot of hype about antioxidants and how they're essential for staving off myriad diseases. While some of the information in the popular media is over blown, there is solid evidence behind the benefits of antioxidants at countering oxidative stress, which can trigger illness - possibly including heart disease and cancer.
So how do you get more antioxidants? Food and supplements are the main ways.
According to a USDA study, several of the best common-place antioxidant-rich foods are beans and berries. My About.com colleague Cathy Wong, Guide to Alternative Medicine, has a list of the USDA's 20 top foods: Best Food Sources of Antioxidants.
Several of the foods profiled in my Food of the Week series contain antioxidants, including:
A lot of products in the grocery store are labeled as containing antioxidants, but the best sources are generally the natural ones - which are often less expensive and better for you over all.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to antioxidant supplements, including:
Along with increasing antioxidant intake, you can combat oxidative stress by avoiding things that cause free radicals in your body. For more, see: Smoking, Oxidative Stress, FMS & ME/CFS.
Have your symptoms improved due to antioxidants? Which kind(s) did you use? What was the effect? Leave your comments below!
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