The Power of Antioxidants, and Where to Find Them.
Most likely, you have heard the term Antioxidants, after all, most of what we hear about diet and nutrition include how important they are in the fight against free radicals.
And they are. The problem is that most of us don’t have a clear picture of what antioxidants are, how they protect us, and why they are so important.
What are Free Radicals?
In order to understand antioxidants, we also need to understand what free radicals are and how they affect us. Basically, free radicals are molecules in the body that are by-products of a metabolic process called oxidation. Although they occur naturally in the body, having too many can be dangerous.
Overexposure to cigarette smoke and pollution can overload the body with free radicals, which can lead to cell damage, causing many types of diseases. That’s where antioxidants come in.
Antioxidants are molecules that protect against oxidation, and like the various types of free radicals that exist, there are also different types of antioxidants which can be found in an assortment of foods and supplements to fight the free radicals.
What’s important to understand is that we need a variety of antioxidants in order to keep us feeling our best. The question is, how do we make sure we are getting enough?
How to Get Antioxidants Into Your Diet
Including antioxidant foods that contains a mixture of teas, herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits is a good start. You can find antioxidants in a variety of foods, so by adding color to your plate, you’ll maximize the benefits. For example, yellow and orange vegetables have different antioxidants than red, purple and green ones do. You’ll also want to be sure to avoid processed foods, limit alcohol and sugar and change your focus to a mostly whole food plant-based diet.
Although the focus should be on eating the right foods, the reality is that sometimes it’s just not that easy to do, so taking supplements can ensure you are reaping the benefits that antioxidants provide, even when you can’t eat right. The supplements you want to include will depend largely on your dietary needs and are individual to each of us, so knowing where your deficiencies are can help you choose the proper supplements.
Why Antioxidant Supplements are Important
We understand that antioxidants fight free radicals, and a diet rich in vegetables and fruits are beneficial in giving us what we need to do that. Adding vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals can assist in protecting the body from the many pollutants we encounter every day. There are also a variety of additional benefits you can enjoy from antioxidant supplements.
Immune system support – beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Prostate Support – lycopene
Eye Health – beta-carotene (and other carotenoids)
Urinary Tract Health – proanthocyanidins
Heart Health – Flavonoids
Skin Health – A combination of Astaxanthin, beta-carotene and vitamin E
When it comes down to getting and staying healthy, Antioxidants play a big part, so including them is an important step to better health.
Maria Pease, Health & Wellness Writer
Maria Pease is a freelance health & wellness content writer based in Southport, North Carolina. She has written about health & wellness for more than twenty-five years and has partnered with a variety of companies doing the most amazing work. She loves being able to write about health topics that can change lives for the better.