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The Big Question: What is an Anti-Oxidant?

Published on Jun 01, 2014 in Facts

The term ‘antioxidant’ is advertised on any health supplement or substance of nutritional value. It is also advertised for many natural personal care products, and even pet food and sports beverages. However, most common folk know nothing about the term. It has become adapted to universally fit with any health description, and people take for granted the term and translate it as, “this has anti-oxidants. That must mean it has healthy stuff, and I’ll assume it means this is good for me.”

No need for assumptions – here’s the answer, plain and simple.

What are Antioxidants?

Many fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants

Many fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants

Antioxidants are basically man-made or naturally occurring compounds that help to prevent or delay certain types of cell damage. One of the most common causes of cell damage in general can be linked to free radicals entering your system. These are oxygenated compounds that are the result of chemical pollutants in the atmosphere or chemical ingredients in various products we consume such as foodstuff’s or beauty, skin and hair care products.

Once they enter our system, free radicals tend to bond with the cells in our body, and once they are triggered (by sun exposure or our general digestive processes) they cause serious chain-reaction like damage to our bodies similar to the effects of cancer. They can weaken our immune system and speed up the signs of aging – thus undoing any of the preventative measures we take to slow the aging process or maintain a healthy, youthful complexion.

While avoiding free radicals may be quite a challenge, the good news is that we can use antioxidants to help counter their effects and restore our bodies natural health and vitality. In short, antioxidants encapsulate (or trap) the free radicals before they can bond with the cells in our bodies. This allows our body to then flush them out (when we sweat or use the toilet) and ultimately prevent any of the damage that they may cause.

Where are Antioxidants Found?

Strawberries are a delicious source of antioxidants

As I mentioned in the introduction, most products or brands are often eager to advertise the fact that their product in particular contains ‘antioxidants’, as this often sways our minds into thinking that they are automatically healthy and good for us.

But this is not always the case, and it’s important to note that there are a wide variety of different sources of antioxidants, each being better suited to a specific body type or ailment. I would also recommend choosing natural sources of antioxidants, such as fruit or vegetables, as they’re a lot safer and healthier for your body in general – plus they’re a tasty addition to any diet or meal as well.

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite natural fruit and vegetable sources of antioxidants:

  • Goji Berries
  • Onions
  • Blueberries
  • Kale
  • Cranberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Red Grapes
  • Corn
  • Plums
  • Eggplant
  • Oranges
  • Red Bell Peppers

However, this is really only the tip of the iceberg, as there are a tonne of other sources of antioxidants out there including herbs and spices. Just a handful of my favorites include cloves, cocoa, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, basil, ginger, turmeric and thyme. Coffee is also a surprisingly powerful antioxidant and is easy to include in your everyday diet as most of have a cup or two throughout the day anyway – just be sure to cut down on the sugar and sweeteners!

If you plan on shopping for man-made supplements as your source of antioxidants, here are the 7 essentials you should keep your eye open for whilst perusing the many options available out there today:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Benefits of Antioxidants

Delicious, healthy and nutritious sources of antioxidants

The benefits of antioxidants are very straightforward – you need them to rid your body of oxidants, which cause illness, disease and speed up the signs of aging. They work much like antibiotics do on bacteria and should be treated in a similar manner. This means that you have to maintain a balance of antioxidants to oxidants in your body at all times, as having too much of either can lead to a variety of different side effects or negative reactions on your health in general.

However, by maintaining a healthy balance of antioxidants in your diet, you will be able to rid your body of many of the excessive oxidants and toxins that you’re bound to encounter over a daily basis and ultimately maintain a healthier body overall, as well as keeping your skin healthy, nourished and revitalized whilst slowing the signs of aging, thus allowing you to maintain a youthful complexion without the risk of adding chemical-based products to your daily cleansing routine.

As you get older, and your body becomes weaker, antioxidants will become your best friend, as the amount of chemical toxins that we come into contact with on a daily basis will ultimately cause us a great deal of harm – unless we can treat them soon enough. Antioxidants are that treatment – and all natural too which is a pretty important benefit to anyone who cares about their health in general.

Conclusion

Ultimately, antioxidants are a very important part of everyday life and in maintaining a healthy, well-regulated body and a strong immune system. The best thing about antioxidants is that they are often most potent when they’re in their natural form which means that you can add them to your diet quite easily as most of the foods, spices or drinks that are so rich in antioxidants are things that we already consume on a regular basis – like coffee, fruit and the vegetables listed above. In a world where air pollution is steadily growing and the amount of chemicals that we’re exposed to on a regular basis is much higher than in the past, having enough antioxidants in your diet is important for staying healthy and maintaining a youthful complexion which is important in a material world.

Thanks for reading our article on antioxidants – I sincerely hope that this information will help you get a better understanding of how important these are as a part of your diet and for maintaining a healthy lifestyle over all. Please feel free to check out our articles on Parsley essential oil and Basil essential oil as these are potent natural sources of antioxidants – in case you need a serious boost.