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Antioxidants 101: How Do They Protect Your Body?
January 31, 2023
When it comes to maintaining good health, you’ve likely heard the term “antioxidants” thrown around quite a bit. But what exactly are they, and how do they benefit the body? In this blog post, we’ll dive into the basics of antioxidants and explore how they can help protect your body from harm.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally-occurring compounds that help to neutralize harmful molecules known as free radicals. These free radicals are generated by normal bodily processes, such as metabolism, as well as external factors such as pollution and UV radiation. Free radicals can cause damage to cells, leading to a host of health problems. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers,” neutralizing these harmful molecules and protecting the body from damage.
Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals
When free radicals outnumber the antioxidants in the body, it can lead to a state known as “oxidative stress.” This can damage cells and has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants help to combat this damage by neutralizing the free radicals before they can cause harm.
Food Sources of Antioxidants
Our body has its own ability to create antioxidants to keep free radicals in check. But, due to our present day conditions where our lifestyle habits, lack of proper nutrition, and excessive pollution from toxins, we require more antioxidants from our foods and supplements.
One of the best ways to get antioxidants into your body is through your diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are all excellent sources of antioxidants. Some of the most antioxidant-rich foods include:
Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all packed with antioxidants.
Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and broccoli are excellent sources of antioxidants.
Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are all good choices.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are all good sources.
Spices: Cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger are all high in antioxidants.
Organ meat: Liver, brain, heart, kidneys, etc of animals help fight free radicals.
It’s important to note that cooking and processing can reduce the antioxidant content of foods, so it’s best to eat them raw or lightly cooked whenever possible.
While it’s always best to get your nutrients from whole foods, antioxidant supplements can be a convenient way to boost your intake. Some of the most popular antioxidant supplements include:
Vitamin C: This well-known antioxidant is crucial for immune function and can also help to reduce inflammation.
Vitamin E: This antioxidant helps to protect cells from damage and has been shown to help lower the risk of heart disease.
Beta-carotene: This antioxidant is converted to vitamin A in the body and is important for vision and immune function.
Glutathione: Glutathione are great in the reduction of oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Various Bioflavonoids and Herbal extracts can altogether act as an Antioxidant complex.
It’s important to keep in mind that antioxidant supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet, and it’s always best to get your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible. Additionally, high doses of antioxidant supplements can have harmful side effects, so it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. By neutralizing these harmful molecules, it can help to reduce the risk of a wide range of health problems. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains is one of the best ways to get antioxidants into your body, and antioxidant supplements can also be a convenient way to boost your intake.