When researching ways to stay healthy, you might have come across the term ‘antioxidants.’ What on earth are antioxidants, where do they come, what impact can they have on the body and why are they so important? Don’t worry we’re going to answer all of these questions for you. But before we even start thinking about antioxidants, we need to talk about oxidation.
Oxidation In The Body
Oxidation is quite a complex process, but there are only a few things that you need to know about it. First, it’s a chemical process that occurs when oxygen is metabolized in the body. Once this happens, it creates ‘free radicals.’ These steal electrons from cells in the body and can cause serious, long-lasting damage. In fact, oxidation is one of the main causes behind some of the most serious illnesses and physical conditions. So, by preventing or prohibiting oxidation, you can make sure that the body stays healthy.
Free radicals can have a wide variety of different impacts on the human body. For instance, they can cause damage to the eye lens which may eventually lead to an individual going blind. They can cause damage to the nerve cells in the brain. As such, free radicals can be linked to the development of degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Even certain cancers can be activated by free radicals causing damage to DNA structures.
So, it’s hard to overstate just how dangerous oxidation can be. Antioxidants as you might have guessed, stop the process of oxidation in the human body. But where do they come from?
Sources Of Antioxidants
Interestingly, antioxidants are naturally created by the human body. However, research has shown that the number of antioxidants that naturally develop are no match for the high levels of free radicals constantly in the human body. As such, we need to look at other sources to get the antioxidants we need. Luckily, antioxidants are also present in a wide range of different foods.
Many antioxidants can be consumed by eating fruit and nuts such as wild blueberries and pecans. By consuming foods like this, you can get enough antioxidants to eliminate the free radicals that are within your blood
Of course, it’s not the food itself that contains the antioxidants. Rather the minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that the foods contain are sources of these natural substances. For instance, copper is a fantastic source of antioxidants. This can be consumed by eating a variety of seafood and nuts. Other fruits such as grapefruit and watermelon are a source of lycopene, another possible antioxidant. The list is so vast that you are probably getting a lot of antioxidants in your diet without even thinking about it. But are you getting enough?
Certain antioxidants have different effects on the body. So it’s quite possible that you’re getting a few antioxidants that you need but missing out on a crucial one because there’s a certain food missing from your diet. For instance, lycopene is found in pink grapefruit, watermelon, and tomatoes. If none of these foods are part of your diet, it’s possible that you are not getting an antioxidant key to great prostate health. Wine drinkers will be pleased to hear that red wine contains another antioxidant, flavonoids and these can also be found in citrus fruits. Without flavonoids, your heart health could suffer.
Arguably then, the best way to get the different antioxidants you need is to consume a varied, full diet. This is one of the problems with diets that encourage people to rely on one food source. They might lose weight, but they won’t be getting the antioxidants they need for their body to stay healthy.
Other Impacts Of Antioxidants
As you can see, antioxidants have various impacts on the body and will keep you healthy. Some of the surprising benefits include the impact that antioxidants have on the skin. Your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays every time you go outside. These rays are linked to the development of certain skin conditions such as cancer and can even cause premature aging of skin cells. Antioxidants such as Anthocyanins combined with vitamins establish a protection for the skin against these types of issues. Thus, by getting the right antioxidants in your diet, you could essentially look younger for longer.
As well as this, antioxidants benefit the immune system as well. Since antioxidants can help prevent cell damage, they reduce the power of diseases on the body. Oxygen has the power to act as a catalyst in the formation of free radicals. Both antioxidants Astaxanthin and Spirulina can work to prevent the mutation of DNA strands that often occur during the development of long-term illnesses because of this chemical reaction. As such, they can increase the immune system and ensure your body is less susceptible to serious medical conditions. While research into antioxidants is constantly ongoing, it is believed to be one of the best ways to limit the chances of cancer.
Mood And Memory
Since free radicals can impact cells in the brain, they can have an impact on mood, emotions and brain disorders. Antioxidants can limit the effects that free radicals have on the brain and stabilize issues with memory and mood. In fact, by getting the right antioxidants in your diet, it’s possible that you will actually have fewer mood swings and keep a clearer mind with a stronger memory. This is just one of the incredible impacts antioxidants can have on your body when you eat foods like fruit and nuts that contain them.
More Important Now Than Ever
The world is not as it once was. The sun's rays can be more harmful, the rates of degenerative diseases and untreatable illnesses have increased, and pollutants are everywhere. Our bodies are constantly exposed to environments that can cause free radicals to develop quickly in larger numbers, putting us at serious risk. That’s why it is absolutely crucial that your body is getting the antioxidants it desperately needs to keep cells healthy. A great place to start would be adding more nuts and fruit to your diet. Fruits like mangoes and nuts like pecans provide some of the best antioxidants for staying fit and free from disease.