Health Benefits Of Antioxidants: Unlocking The Power

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You must have heard about incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet, but have you considered why? It’s because they are rich in antioxidants. Many health supplements are out there on the market to increase the antioxidant levels in your body. But the natural sources are much more beneficial for health and do not have any side effects. Let’s take a Look at the Health Benefits Of Antioxidants.

In this blog, we are going to understand how antioxidants work and its multiple benefits to the human body. We will also cover the natural food sources of antioxidants that you can easily include in your routine. So, if you are conscious about what you eat, or want to understand how antioxidants work, then this blog is for you.

Antioxidants: Mechanism

Let us rewind to the basic lesson from the science class, where you were introduced to atoms’ main components, protons, electrons, and neutrons. Now, molecules are made up of two or more atoms and require electrons to remain stable. Failing to do that, molecules might turn into free radicals which can disrupt the balance of good molecules. 

Health Benefits Of Antioxidants

Antioxidants work in the same mechanism, they fight off the free radicals in your body and promote harmony in bodily functions. Exposure to air pollution, heavy metals, chemicals, and harmful smoke, can give rise to free radicals in your body. With the right amount of antioxidants present in your body, your body’s natural response to fight off infections and diseases is increased. 

The imbalance of the antioxidants in your body can lead to oxidative stress which is the root cause of many chronic diseases. Like autoimmune disorders, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Our body’s natural response to any danger is what helps us overcome it.

Health Benefits Of Antioxidants

Now that we understand the mechanism of antioxidants in our body, let us understand its role in keeping our body healthy.

1. Protects Cell From Free Radical

The primary instinct of antioxidants is to neutralize the free radicals in your body to maintain optimal function. When the free radicals increase it has the potential to damage the cells and their structure. To avoid this, antioxidants help to counteract the attacks from the free radicals. In some cases, the free radicals are not fought off completely, but their ability to destroy the cells is executed. 

2. Decreases Inflammation From Our Body

 When you get hurt or have had recent surgery, your wound is open and starts to heal on its own. Yes, there is an added effect of medicine, but the purpose of that medicine is to ensure faster recovery, your cells are already at work to heal the wound. Antioxidants play a major role in reducing inflammation of any kind in our body. 

3. Good For Heart Health

Individuals suffering from heart conditions are often patients with high cholesterol. Antioxidants help to prevent the oxidation process of the bad cholesterol. When LDL or low-density lipoprotein is oxidized it can lead to blockage of an artery, blood clots in the blood vessels, or worse a stroke. These conditions can be avoided if the antioxidant levels are ideal in the body.

4. Make Your Skin Looking Radiant

We all know that moisturizing your skin daily can lead to radiant and younger-looking skin, but have we thought about what is in the moisturizing cream? Antioxidants, of course! Antioxidants help to protect your skin from UV radiation and pollution on a large scale. Not only this, it also plays a great role in reducing the occurrence of fine lines, and wrinkles, and promotes healthy-looking skin.

5. Improves Brain Health

Antioxidants are known to improve cognitive skills and protect the brain from oxidative stress. It improves the blood flow in the cerebral section for enhanced memory and preventing age-related neurological diseases. During the early days of childhood, antioxidants play a major role in brain development and healthy functioning. It also helps to reduce oxidative stress which can result in depression or anxiety, and improves emotional well-being.

Natural Food Sources Of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are present in various types and are available naturally. It is present in vitamins and minerals that we encounter daily. To understand the sources, let us dive into the types of antioxidants:

Vitamin A

The natural food sources of vitamin A are water-soluble antioxidants and focus on neutralizing free radicals. It also helps in the production of collagen and improves your immunity. Examples of vitamin A food sources are 

  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Oranges
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Vitamin E

This vitamin helps in reducing the oxidative stress in your body and is fat soluble. It also improves skin health and reduces inflammation in the cells. Some of the common sources of vitamin E are:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnut
  • Turnip greens
  • Brown rice
  • Blackberries

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that helps in supplying energy to the cells. It supports the healthy functioning of the heart and liver. You can find CoQ10 in these foods:

  • Organ meat
  • Salmon
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Soybean Oil
  • Chicken 
  • Lentils

Beta Carotene

These are a group of pigments that aim to improve eye health and immune response. Studies have suggested that these carotenoids can help prevent cancer cells from growing into tumors. Common food sources of Beta-carotene are:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Sweet potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe 

Selenium

It is a trace mineral that helps the body protect from developing certain cancer types. There are organic and inorganic forms of selenium which can be found in:

  • Ham
  • Sardines
  • Brazil nuts
  • Halibut
  • Whole grains
  • Fish

Conclusion

Antioxidants are an important aspect of a healthy diet and help maintain bodily functions. You can easily incorporate them into your diet or opt for antioxidant supplements. Remember to not go overboard with the supplements, as they can cause side effects and worsen health conditions. 

Antioxidants can help absorb the nutrients in the body and work towards a healthy and functioning body. Along with antioxidants, try to adapt to a healthy lifestyle which will provide a better structure for a fulfilling life. So, color your plate with a variety of antioxidants and relish nature’s gems.

References

  • Shirley R., Ord E.N.J., Work L.M. Oxidative Stress and the Use of Antioxidants in Stroke. Antioxidants. 2014;3:472–501. doi: 10.3390/antiox3030472. [PMC free article]
  • Baineni R., Gulati R., Delhi C.K. Vitamin A toxicity presenting as bone pain. Arch. Dis. Child. 2016;102:556–558. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2016-310631. [PubMed]

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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