Do you ever wonder what all the fuss is about? Are antioxidants really that great? What’s the scientific truth behind them? Which food has the most antioxidants? I think it’s time we dug a little deeper. Don’t you? We’ll be talking about antioxidants and their health benefits. What exactly are antioxidants? Do they really help fight oxidative stress? What are the other benefits to eating this super nutrient?
What are antioxidants?
We keep hearing about antioxidants. They do this, they do that! But what exactly are they? Well, antioxidants are extremely important for your overall health. These nutrients are only now getting the spotlight they deserve. Nowadays a number of foods come with the antioxidant label. But not a lot of people actually know how antioxidants work and what they do to protect the body. For that, you need to first understand the damage free radicals can do to you. Free radicals are a major cause for a number of chronic health issues. They are unstable and very reactive. Free radicals are usually formed as a waste product during the metabolic process or if you’re exposed to toxins like tobacco smoke or UV rays. Your lifestyle can also contribute to an increase of free radicals in your body. Drinking alcohol regularly, eating high amounts of unhealthy fats, and high blood sugar will all add to an increase. Even intense workouts for long durations can cause free radicals to form. This is due to the damage caused. But it’s not as if you need to get rid of all the free radicals in your body. They too have an important function to perform. The immune system uses these free radicals to fight off infections and virus attacks. The important part is to maintain a balance between free radicals and antioxidants. If there are more free radicals than antioxidants, you suffer what is known as oxidative stress. Do you drink alcohol regularly? How about smoking? Were you aware of the free radicals these habits produce for you? Share your viewpoints with the Bestie community in the comments below.
What is oxidative stress?
When there are too many free radicals, there is oxidative stress. This causes damage to your body’s cells. It can also damage your DNA, proteins, and lipids, among others. Oxidative stress is cited as one of the reasons for faster aging. It also causes a number of diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It can also be the reason for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cataracts. An antioxidant basically prevents oxidation. They can be either natural or man-made. What they do is search for these free radicals and neutralize them so that they can’t causeany more cell damage. These antioxidants also help revive cells that are already damaged. Some even lead to production of other antioxidants, or defense enzymes. Your body produces a few antioxidants on its own to protect itself from disease. But it can’t produce all the antioxidants it requires on a daily basis. So you need to get them through the food you eat, or use supplements that provide the necessarynutrients.
Health benefits of antioxidants.
Research has shown that eating and drinking things high in antioxidants improve your and your overall health. This is especially true of antioxidants that come from plant-based foods. When you eat antioxidant-rich food, you experience slower signs of aging, which include importantage markers like your eyes, skin, joints and heart. Even your skin benefits from antioxidants. It will glow and look youthful as the antioxidants prevent skin cell damage. You will have better protection from cancer and other chronic disorders. Vision impairment is significantly reduced, as there will be a lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The chances of suffering dementia will also be significantly less. Before we move ahead, have you been curious about the vitamins your missing? Well here’s another video you might like. Watch and learn more about each and every vitamin your body needs. Now back to our discussion on antioxidants.
Nutritional sources of antioxidants.
You need to add a lot of antioxidant-rich food to your diet. There are so many sources to get your fix from. For example, people generally avoid dark chocolate out of fear of gaining weight, or increasingtheir sugar levels, but the cocoa in it is actually a great source of antioxidants. Studies have shown that coffee plays a huge role in western diets when it comes to antioxidants. This is mainly because western diets generally have smaller amounts of food with antioxidants. Western diets are higher on meat products and fish. While they’re still a source of antioxidants, they’re much lower when compared to plant-based foods. Fruits and vegetables remain the best source of antioxidants. Most berries and fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate and dark purplegrapes are rich sources of antioxidants. Pecans are filled with them. The best part is that eating just a handful of pecans gives you under 200 calories. This makes them an excellent source of antioxidants without adding too many calories. But remember to eat only a handful. Prunes and plums are other antioxidant-rich fruits you should make a part of your regulardiet. Prunes have almost twice the amount of antioxidants blueberries give you. You can make an antioxidant trail mix by adding dried nuts like pecans and apricots. Mix in prunes and dark chocolate chips. Your healthy on-the-go snack is ready! There are a number of veggies that serve as excellent sources of antioxidants. While there are too many to list, the more common ones include sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and broccoli. Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and mushrooms are also rich sources of this nutrient. Garlic, onions, leeks and scallions also come packed with antioxidants. You can also start eating more flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. How you eat these veggies is also important. Cooking them at high temperatures destroys the antioxidants. Make sure you either eat them raw as salad, or saute them lightly. Steaming is another great option.
Antioxidants from supplements.
Studies have yet to prove that taking antioxidant supplements are significantly beneficial. This could be because the chemical composition in these supplements is different from those found in antioxidant-rich food. It’s also possible that specific antioxidants would be effective for certain diseases. For example, if you want to avoid vision impairment, lutein is likely to be more effective than beta carotene. That’s because lutein is an antioxidant present in the eye. Research has shown that combining antioxidants with zinc helps reduce the risk of advancedmacular disease. To be precise, the risk is reduced by 25% among people who are at an advanced stage in a single eye. Risks of Antioxidant Supplements Since antioxidants are so great for you, it makes sense to want to jump on the supplementbandwagon. But doing this recklessly can cause more harm than good. Antioxidants have toxic effects on your body if you take too many. This way they can actually end up causing oxidative damage. This is what’s called the antioxidant paradox. One study showed taking large amounts of vitamin E supplements could end up increasing the risk of stroke and prostate cancer. These supplements could also have harmful interactions with medications you’re alreadytaking. If you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid taking these antioxidant supplements. It’s clear antioxidants are vital for your overall health. But instead of taking supplements, change your diet to include fruits, veggies, and other such sources of antioxidants. This will give you greater health benefits in the long run. Excited to learn about antioxidants and their benefits?Well, there’s more to the story. Antioxidants give you a youthful appearance. So why not try anti-aging drinks to preserve your glow? You can also eat seeds that have the power to heal your body. Here’s how you do it…Watch 14 Anti-Aging Drinks That Give You A Youthful Appearance. You can also try 8 Powerful Seeds That Benefit Your Health. Go ahead, click one. Or better yet, watch both, and learn more about how to get your health in order.