Antioxidants come up frequently in the discussion about good health and preventing disease. These very powerful substances prohibit the oxidation by harmful molecules in the body. The best part is, we can get them from fruits and veggies! For most, obtaining healthy, glowing skin is an ongoing campaign. Antioxidants can be extremely helpful because they speed up the skin’s natural repair systems and directly inhibit further damage from oxidizing molecules.
What are oxidants and antioxidants?
Free radicals are atoms or molecules that contain at least one unpaired electron. They oxidize cellular molecules by removing electrons from them, so free radicals may also be called oxidants. Loss of electrons impairs the molecules’ ability to carry out cellular functions and damaged cells may die. Antioxidants prevent cell damage by offering electrons to free radicals and ending the cascade of destructive reactions. This cycle is never ending, as your body is constantly generating or in contact with oxidants.
You can be exposed to oxidants in two ways. They are produced within your body as byproducts of daily processes. Breaking down certain medicines, metabolizing sugars and releasing digestive enzymes are all processes that produce oxidants. The second way that we are exposed to oxidants is through the environment. Sources of oxidants include air pollution, alcohol and cigarette smoke. UV radiation also triggers production of free radicals in the skin.
What are antioxidants useful for?
Antioxidants are manmade or natural substances that have the power to delay some types of cell damages. They protect the body from damage caused by harmful free radicals as explained above.
It has also been determined that antioxidants play a role in management or prevention of some medical conditions. Some of these conditions include cancers, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease and some types of arthritis.
Why is a diet high in antioxidants useful?
Diets high in antioxidants can protect your skin against damage. In contrast to moisturizers and serums, dietary antioxidants help your skin from the inside out. They encourage tissue growth which is very helpful in the fight against lines and wrinkles. It is extremely difficult to get too much antioxidant from your diet, so sticking to natural food sources with high antioxidants is extremely safe. There are many foods that are rich in antioxidants that are enjoyable and can be added into your everyday snacks and meals. Eating these foods will not only keep you healthier, but will give your skin the healthy look that is so desirable.
Some of the highest antioxidant foods are blueberries, dark chocolate, artichokes, kidney beans, cranberries and blackberries. Another strategy is to add specific high antioxidant herbs into your diet such as clove, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, basil, ginger and turmeric.
Different antioxidants benefit different parts of the body
There is such a wide range of antioxidants in the world and every one of them varies slightly from one another. These variations make some antioxidants better for certain parts of the body than other antioxidants. This is similar to how there are several types of vitamins, while most, if not all of them are good for us, some are better for certain parts of the body than others. For example, beta-carotene is very beneficial to eye health, lycopene is beneficial for maintaining prostate health and flavonoids are especially beneficial for heart health.
Where else can you get antioxidants
Food is not the only place that you can find and give your body the antioxidants that it needs. There are several dietary supplements that also carry large amounts of antioxidants. For some taking a dietary supplement pill daily (or whenever the particular brand you buy recommends) can be much easier than attempting to buy and ingest certain foods every day.
Examples of some dietary supplements are:
- Vitamins A, C and E
While taking a supplement may be much easier than changing your diet, it is important to remember that taking supplements in large doses can be very harmful. Never take more than what the directions advise. It would be best to speak with a doctor if you are considering adding supplements of any kind to your diet. A supplement, like prescription medicines, can cause side effects. Another fact that is important to know is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.
Antioxidants are extremely beneficial to the body and a higher intake of them will greatly improve the look and feel of your skin. Before adding any supplements to your diet be sure to check with a doctor to choose an appropriate dosage. However, the addition of high antioxidant foods is something that you can begin now!