People are talking so much about antioxidants these days. Even big brands are promoting themselves by talking about antioxidants as the major ingredients in their product. So, what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are basically the substances that fight against the oxidizing agents present in a living organism. These oxidizing agents can damage the important molecules in our bodies like DNA and proteins.
Clearly, uncontrolled oxidants in our body can be harmful. This is where antioxidants come to our rescue as they fight the free radicals (waste produced by our body cells) and prevent us from many major diseases. These interesting fighters are an important part of our health.
Read further to know about the health benefits and nutritional information of antioxidants.
So, what do antioxidants do? They provide protection to our body cells from harmful free radicals. If our body fails to remove or process the free radicals then these can harm our body functions severely. These free radicals can enter our body while it gets exposed to pollution, smoking, drinking, certain chemicals, and UV exposure. Therefore, by fighting these free radicals, antioxidants help us in many ways. Here are some of the major benefits of antioxidants.
Who doesn’t want a strong immune system which saves you from falling ill and protects you from every harmful disease? Antioxidants ensure a strong system and a strong immune system ensures a healthy body. Vitamin A, C, and E are vital to boost our immunity. They also help to prevent us from infections. Therefore, they help us to lead a healthy life with healthy aging.
Benefits of antioxidants in skincare are many but the most important is the prevention of aging signs. Free radicals are majorly responsible for causing aging and antioxidants can combat them. This is why most of the beauty products contain antioxidants to make skin healthy and glowy. Antioxidants can help the regeneration of cells and therefore can delay the signs of aging.
Intake of antioxidants can reduce cataract (clouding of lens leading to a decrease in vision) progression and age-related macular degeneration (loss of central vision). Antioxidants such as vitamin A protects the eye and especially the retina. It can also help to prevent night blindness.
Research shows that a regular intake of the antioxidant vitamin C can cut down the risk of heart strokes by 50 percent. Therefore, including a rich quantity of antioxidants can help your heart maintain good health.
Antioxidants help to improve memory and lowers the risk of dementia. They work as antidepressants and therefore help the brain to function better. It also stimulates microcirculation which improves concentration power.
Antioxidants carry anti-inflammatory properties which help to relieve arthritis. Vitamin C in citrus fruits can fight the free radicals which are responsible for arthritis.
The damage caused by free radicals can lead to cancer. By removing free radicals antioxidants can help to prevent cancer. During the cancer stage, the total antioxidant can come to a lower level. Hence, you can take antioxidant supplementation to meet the required amount and the benefits of antioxidant supplements might actually help you. However, you must take the advice of your doctor or dietician.
Antioxidants can help in preventing kidney diseases. People who are on dialysis can benefit from the intake of antioxidants. You can even start antioxidant supplementation if your doctor allows it.
Exercises can lead to building up oxidative stress which hinders bodybuilding. Hence, proper intake of antioxidants can help you while training your body. Oxidative stress can also lead to injuries and can even impair healing injuries and pain. Antioxidants help to recover the injuries faster and also helps to repair muscles tissues faster.
Apart from being good for the skin, antioxidants also prove to be beneficial for hair. Pollution and sun exposure tend to damage your hair by transferring free radicals to the hair. Antioxidants can help to treat this damage by fulfilling the nutritional deficiencies.
Smoking can expose us to free radicals which leads to an increased level of oxidative stress. Thus, the benefits of antioxidants also include reducing the damage caused by smokers to a certain level.
Your favorite junk food contains the least amount of antioxidants whereas fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and oats contain a higher amount of antioxidants. The following table includes the type of antioxidants and their sources.
|Type Of Antioxidants||Food Sources-High Antioxidants Food|
|vitamin A||Dairy products, eggs, tomatoes, papaya, citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy vegetables, carrots, mangoes,|
|vitamin C||Oranges, bell peppers, kiwi, tomatoes, guavas, rose hips, blackcurrants, lemon|
|vitamin E||Nuts (like almonds, peanuts), vegetable oils (soybean, wheat germ, sunflower), spinach, broccoli, olive oil, pumpkin seeds|
|beta-carotene||Carrots, sweet potato, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, red and yellow bell peppers|
|lycopene||Pink grapefruit, tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya|
|lutein||Green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, pumpkin, peas, asparagus, lettuce, carrots|
|selenium||Fish, turkey, chicken, mushrooms, sunflower seeds|
|manganese||Beans, legumes, oatmeal, brown rice, green leafy vegetables, pineapple, dark chocolate|
|zeaxanthin||Green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, pumpkin, peas, asparagus, lettuce, carrots|
So, how many of these are already a part of your balanced diet? Add these in your balanced diet to avoid the intake of antioxidants supplements (head towards the end to know about them).
Dietary supplements for antioxidants are also available in the market to meet your daily requirement of antioxidants. However, no research has supported the benefits of such supplements. Gaining the benefits of antioxidants via antioxidants supplements can be tempting but it is advisable to go for the natural sources of antioxidants in the form of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc.
Also, another important thing to keep in mind is that a high intake of antioxidants supplements is not good for health. Especially pregnant women should avoid this as doing so can increase the risk of heart disease or cancer. So, before taking any antioxidant supplement, you should take the advice of your dietician or doctor.