We’ve all heard about antioxidants and how they’re good for our body. But what are they and how do they work? To understand the role and importance of antioxidants, we need to look at what oxidation and free radicals affect our bodies.
The cells that help our body process food also produce waste substances, which are called Free radicals. “Oxidative stress” is what occurs when our bodies do not process or remove these free radicals fast enough. Free radicals also increase in the body when our immune systems are compromised or due to more environmental factors such as pollution and UV exposure. Ecological aspects are becoming increasingly important to protect ourselves against, and antioxidants play a significant role in healing damaged cells!
Oxidative stress is a phenomenon that leads to diseases such as arthritis, cancer, Parkinson’s, respiratory and immune deficiencies. Antioxidants counteract the effects of oxidative stress.
Antioxidant foods & supplements
Although antioxidants are something that your body naturally produces, they can be found in a wide variety of plant-based foods and supplements as well. Vitamins such as manganese, beta-carotene, vitamin A, C, and E all contain healthy amounts of antioxidants.
When we hear the term “superfood,” the word usually signifies something high in antioxidants! Here are some superfoods that you can add to your diet to increase your natural intake of antioxidants:
In fruits and berries, we have:
In vegetables, there are:
Legumes, eggs, and cheese are also said to contain antioxidative properties!
Supplements, on the other hand, are meant to be taken with caution. High doses of antioxidants can be more harmful than helpful, and as it is with anything manufactured for consumption, it is vital to do your research research research! Speak to your doctors to make sure you take supplements that are suitable and not harmful to you.
Some supplements preserve the integrity of natural antioxidants, like Mulmina; an antioxidant-filled, immunity-boosting health drink which you can purchase here:
Antioxidants are a big part of our nutritional intake. When measuring how much antioxidants are present in any consumable, the best practice is to look for the ORAC values; Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. These values approximate the antioxidant capacity in foods, supplements, and other consumables.
Green & Black teas are the most popular health drink and with good reason! These two teas are said to have more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables. They are procured from the Camellia Sinensis plant, rich in a type of antioxidant called polyphenol.
Jasmine tea contains an abundance of polyphenol. This abundance ensures that Jasmine teas are a potent remedy to oxidation stress issues such as inflammation, stress, and age-related cellular damage.
Rooibos tea, also known as “redbush tea,” is extracted from a plant called aspalathus linearis. Rooibos tea is usually recommended for people suffering from liver issues and high blood pressure.
Hibiscus tea is extracted from the sepals of the hibiscus plant. Hibiscus tea is said to benefit cardiovascular function by regulating blood pressure.
Fresh juices made from foods abundant in antioxidants make for great antioxidant beverages!
Such tremendous natural juices and beverages include:
Acai berry juice
Cucumber and parsley juice
There are many ways in which we can benefit from different antioxidants in the long run. The importance of managing our nutritional intake to ensure the body benefits, heals, and ages with vitality is not lost on us. Be it natural or supplement consumption, antioxidants have been linked to many health benefits such as better vision, anti-inflammatory properties, improving cardiovascular function, and benefitting your skin.
Determining which forms of antioxidants are good for us with the proper guidance and research is detrimental to ensure you’re taking the right amount of antioxidants you need.