Your Health

What Are Antioxidants and What Can They Do For You?

What Are Antioxidants and What Can They Do For You?

Antioxidants are nutrients in plant foods, known as phytochemicals, and are found in deeply coloured fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as in other plants and noted foods.

 

Antioxidants have the uncanny power to take destructive free radicals and convert them to harmless waste products that the body can eliminate before any damage is done. In short, antioxidants act as scavengers to keep the body’s cells, tissues and overall health intact.

 

You may, however, be wondering why free radicals pose a threat. In short, a free radical is a molecule with one electron missing, which leaves them highly unstable. In their instability, they attack stable molecules to rob them of their electrons—causing a cascade of new free radicals to form and wreak havoc on the body.

 

What antioxidants do for the body

 

First and foremost, antioxidants support cardiovascular health. With this in mind, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a diet high in fruits, vegetables and other foods that contain antioxidants.

 

They also support healthy cells, as demonstrated by studies which indicate that the antioxidant vitamin, beta carotene, found primarily in orange and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits, support health on a cellular level. Other studies, including one in 1995 from Harvard University, assert that the antioxidant lycopene, found in tomatoes, pink grapefruits and other foods, may support our cells, too.

 

It all comes down to the way antioxidants fights the damage caused by free radicals, commonly-known as oxidative stress.

 

They’re are also known for boosting immunity, as well as for providing additional support during the normal ageing process. In fact, a diet high in antioxidants, especially those found in blueberries, strawberries and spinach, may support brain function, according to emerging science.

 

 

Antioxidants may also assist in weight management. Studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Food Chemistry indicate that eating a diet high in antioxidant fruits and vegetables may even support the maintenance of healthy weight and has the side benefit of containing fibre to help control your appetite.

 

How to get more antioxidants into your diet

 

One of the most common antioxidants is vitamin E, which is stored in fat. Your body doesn’t produce vitamin E itself, so this essential vitamin must come from external sources like foods and supplements. If you’re looking to increase your intake of vitamin E, try incorporating more whole grains, vegetable oils, and leafy greens into your diet.

 

Another effective antioxidant is vitamin C. A water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, and needs to be replenished frequently. It plays a key role in supporting your immune system, and has been shown to assist the regeneration of other antioxidants including vitamin E.

 

 

If you’re determined to develop an antioxidant-rich diet, then look no further than the Mediterranean diet, which has, since the time of the Roman Empire, been famed for its health benefits. Today, scientists know exactly why it’s such a healthy way to eat, and much of it comes down to the fact that it’s packed full of antioxidants.

 

Take grapes, for instance. They rate well on the ORAC scale, a rating scale that scientists put together to measure foods’ antioxidant content. Additionally, red grapes—and particularly red wine from those grapes—provide resveratrol, an antioxidant with powerful health benefits.

 

In various cultures from the beginning of recorded history until present day, antioxidants have served up amazing health benefits.

 

Grapes aren’t alone in offering a delicious way to increase your antioxidant intake. Other high antioxidant foods include spices, which pack some of the highest antioxidant punches known to humanity. Cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cloves, cilantro, oregano, coriander, garlic, curry and red pepper are excellent antioxidant sources.

 

And while we’re on the subject of savory antioxidants, here’s one of the newer—and more decadent—members to join the ranks of high-powered antioxidants: dark chocolate. In fact, unprocessed cocoa has a whopping 10% concentration of antioxidants. Likewise, the antioxidant procyanidin, found in dark chocolate, can help support normal blood clotting and blood vessel function, thereby supporting cardiovascular health.

 

By eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, you can easily increase your antioxidant intake, and thereby reduce the cellular damage caused by free radicals.

 

CoQ10: Our best antioxidant supplement

 

Like other antioxidants, Coq10 helps to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. While produced naturally in the body, the production of Coq10 (formally known as Coenzyme Q10) decreases with age, potentially leading to deficiencies in the compound. In order to make sure you’re getting everything you need to guard against free radicals, choosing an antioxidant supplement can be hugely beneficial.

 

Our RAW CoQ10 delivers 200mg of RAW Coenzyme Q10 per serving, is made with no artificial colourings, flavours, or fillers, to offer powerful antioxidant support in the fight against free radicals and oxidative stress.

 

 

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Garden of Life

Garden of Life

Writer and expert