What are antioxidants? What do antioxidants do? That’s precisely what goes on inside the head of somebody who dropped science in school on hearing the word ‘antioxidants’. Antioxidants are chemicals. It’s as simple as that. If you want to know more, you got to read more. This entire article is dedicated to antioxidants; antioxidant benefits in particular. Why should someone eat antioxidant rich foods? How do antioxidants react with the body? Are the health benefits of antioxidants real enough to increase their intake manually? There’s a lot to learn about antioxidants and there’s a lot that needs to be confirmed about them as well. Ridden with scientific ambiguity, what are the real health benefits of antioxidants?
Table Of Contents:
What Are Antioxidants?
As hinted at above, antioxidants are nothing but chemicals. They are found naturally in many substances, food substances included. Antioxidants do as their names say; they fight against the oxidation process. In particular, they protect the living cell from damage that gets caused to it during oxidation.
So in reply to the question: What are antioxidants? The answer is that they are chemicals that protect the cell during oxidation.
In reply to the question, What do antioxidants do? They protect the cell.
Types Of Antioxidants:
Antioxidants can be differentiated amongst one another as well. Three different types of antioxidants are found freely in nature and they are phytochemicals, enzymes, and vitamins. They are distinguished from each other on the basis of their source. A little bit of extra information about each of the three different types of antioxidants is given below:
1. Phytochemicals: Phytochemicals are antioxidants that the plant uses to protect itself. Under phytochemicals come flavonoids, carotenoids, etc. Research studies suggest that the antioxidant benefits that phytochemicals give to plants carry on to human beings who consume them.
2. Enzymes: The antioxidants that are extracted from our daily intake of protein and minerals constitute to make up antioxidant enzymes. They get synthesized inside the human body. Fun fact about antioxidant enzymes: the antioxidant benefits can be reaped off of these enzymes only in the presence of other minerals such as iron, zinc, copper etc.
3. Vitamins: Antioxidant vitamins aren’t produced by the body naturally. To reap the health benefits of antioxidants, supplemental vitamins that are rich in antioxidants can be consumed. The vitamins that contain the most amounts of antioxidants are Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
Fun fact: plants contain the most amount of antioxidants when compared to any other natural body. The reason for this being their continuous exposure to UV rays.
Health Benefits Of Antioxidants:
So this is the situation. Oxidation of cells can cause a lot of damage. Antioxidants protect cells from oxidation. Yet, there’s not a lot of conclusive proof that point to the health benefits of antioxidants. Sure, everyone advises you to consume foods rich in antioxidants - but if you ask them why? They will have very little statistical data to prove antioxidant benefits to you. Here are 10 amazing health benefits of antioxidants:
1. Fight Vision Loss: Different research studies have proved that consumption of antioxidants helps fight off muscle degradation/degeneration that persists in old age and ultimately results in vision loss.
2. Skin Benefits: The skin is a part of the body that leaves itself most exposed to the ill-effects of UV radiations. Exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer and other skin diseases. Antioxidant formulas help fight off the ill-effects that UV rays have on the skin.
3. Boost Immunity: The ability of antioxidants to catalyze the production of free radicals gives it immunity boosting properties. Astaxanthin is the single most powerful antioxidant supplement that helps boost the immunity levels of the body.
4. Prostate Health: Different antioxidants affect different parts of the body in different ways. Lycopene is an antioxidant that’s super-beneficial and helpful in maintaining one’s prostate health.
5. Heart Health: Flavonoids are phytochemical antioxidants that are found naturally in the plant. As an antioxidant, its health benefits confine to the cardiovascular functioning of the body. Flavonoids are known to better heart health and reduce the risk of developing some heart diseases.
6. Kidney Health: Proanthocyanidin is an antioxidant that helps maintain the health of one’s urinary tract and thereby, helps maintain the kidney’s health as well.
7. Mood Disorders: The intake of certain antioxidants help improve one’s mood and thus, it proves to be a remedial tool for people who suffer from mood disorder diseases like bipolar disorder, hypomania etc.
8. Memory Problems: The consumption of some antioxidants is known to improve one’s memory. The result may not be immediate but psychologically consuming foods rich in antioxidants the night before a test may just help you out!
9. Fight Cancer Development: One of the biggest health benefits of antioxidants is that they reduce the risk of one developing cancer. Antioxidants play a role in the development of cancers in the body and the intake of certain antioxidants helps to reduce the possibility of developing particular cancers. A lot of studies are being carried out to prove the efficiency of antioxidants in fighting off cancer development.
10. Arthritis Treatment: It has been found that the intake of antioxidants provides relief to sufferers of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants are the reason behind them being an effective means of treatment.
While we are talking about the health benefits of antioxidants, it’s important to remember that too much of something is always bad. After reading this article, the health benefits of antioxidants will surely stand out but do not forget that if you consume too much of it- it has a negative impact on your health.
Sources Of Antioxidants:
By sources of antioxidants we mean- antioxidant foods, antioxidant-rich foods, foods rich in antioxidants. Having covered the health benefits of antioxidants, some incentive has been laid down to consume antioxidant-rich foods. A lot of foods are rich in antioxidants. So you aren’t going to fall short of options.
Which antioxidant foods make up the antioxidant rich foods chart? Here are the many different sources of antioxidants:
‣ Antioxidant Fruits: Blueberries, artichoke, strawberries, blackberries and grapes (red)
‣ Antioxidant Vegetables: Potato, kale, broccoli and spinach
‣ Antioxidant Nuts: Pecan and Brazilian nuts
‣ Antioxidant Grains: Kidney beans and whole-grain bread
‣ Antioxidant Herbs: Turmeric, chives, cinnamon, ginger, parsley, basil, cumin and oregano
‣ Antioxidant Beverages: Green tea and red wine
There are many foods that are rich in antioxidants. Try to incorporate a few of them in your daily eating regime- you would be doing your health a big benefit!