The benefits of antioxidants are many, but do you know what exactly they are? When it comes to good health, antioxidants are your superpowered sidekick. These little molecules fend off free radicals in your body, leading to a longer life and lower risk of disease.
Antioxidants are the basis of health fads and health products. On everything from cereal to supplements and even some beauty products, you've probably seen claims that antioxidants are good for your health.
So, whether you’re trying to get rid of pesky-free radicals or just need an additional boost in your daily routine when it comes to beauty, the incredible benefits of antioxidants can surely help you achieve it all.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that counter free radicals in your body, which can cause problems like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. To keep free radicals at bay, your body has its own antioxidant defenses.
Antioxidants can be found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based complete foods. Vitamins E and C, for example, are powerful antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Antioxidants
The research makes it clear that people who eat more amounts of antioxidant-rich food have increased protection against all kinds of diseases. Part of this protection is related to our body's ability to fight free radicals, which are molecules that cause oxidative stress.
On that note, let's have a look at the top 7 benefits of antioxidants:
1.Fights free radicals
One of the most well-known benefits of antioxidants is their ability to fight free radicals. We can't get away with free radicals as they are produced spontaneously as a result of breathing, exercising, and converting food to energy.
Free radicals can also be found in the environment, in cigarette smoke, polluted air, and sunshine. Hence, to combat all of these radicals, our body requires antioxidants.
2. Reduces oxidative stress
A diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress by protecting the body and brain against inflammation. For example, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the levels of c-reactive protein (CRP).
3. Promotes mental health
Several studies have shown that a deficiency in the body's antioxidant defense system contributes to neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Some researchers believe that the benefits of antioxidants might also include reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
4. Improves cognitive health
Antioxidants can help improve memory and reduce your risk of dementia. A number of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, E, selenium, and zinc, have been shown to function as natural “anti-depressants” when taken in their most bioavailable organic forms (for example, natural vitamin E, zinc (glycinate), and selenium yeast).
5. Promotes liver health
Promoting liver health is also among some of the most potent benefits of antioxidants. Liver troubles are most common when the organ is subjected to high levels of oxidative stress. Antioxidants come into play in this situation. They have the ability to protect and restore normal liver function.
6. Helps in building muscle and losing fat
Antioxidants are proven to enhance exercise's training benefits. They also help in the reduction of oxidative stress caused by exercise. An antioxidant-rich diet can help prevent injuries and speed recovery.
This is because exercise is known to induce the creation of free radicals, which can impair muscle tissue and recovery time, and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, can aid in tissue regeneration.
7. Improves hair health
The benefits of antioxidants also include improving hair health by treating nutritional deficiencies that can compromise the health of your hair. Your hair is constantly being bombarded with free-radicals, and antioxidants can help combat these, protecting the delicate hair follicles and preventing hairfall caused by oxidative stress.
Sources of Antioxidants
Plants provide many of the best sources of antioxidants. These chemicals may reduce your risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular problems.
Eating a variety of foods from the main five food groups—vegetables and legumes (such as beans), fruit, whole grain foods and cereals, lean meat, poultry and protein (such as fish, eggs, tofu and nuts)—can help you achieve a healthy and well-balanced diet. You should also drink enough water on a daily basis.
If you really want to attain all the amazing benefits of antioxidants and make sure you're getting enough in your diet, then eat more of the following foods:
- lean meat
- red capsicum
- citrus fruits
- ciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
Also read: Spinach: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits
To meet your nutritional needs and attain the benefits of antioxidants, as a minimum, you should try to eat one serve of fruit and vegetables each day. A serving is roughly a medium-sized piece of fruit or half a cup of cooked vegetables.
The best strategy, of course, is to get all the antioxidants you need from a healthy diet filled with fresh, wholesome fruits, and vegetables. It's important to get these natural antioxidants from your diet because they're better suited for your body than artificial supplements.
But if you still want to incorporate antioxidant supplements into your daily regimen, the bottom line seems to be this: there are many antioxidants at play when it comes to protecting our bodies – so don't just focus on one single nutrient.
Get a variety of antioxidants in your diet and stick with them for the long term for optimal health.
Poll : Natural antioxidants or supplements?
I prefer naturally