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What is an Anti-Oxidant? The Big Question

Published on Jun 01, 2014 in Facts

When you are biting into your juicy strawberry I am sure you are not thinking about antioxidants. You probably don’t even know what that term is. Antioxidant is advertised on any health supplement or substance of nutritional valueNatural care products, pet foods and sports beverages also advertise antioxidants.

But, most people don’t know much about antioxidant.  The general assumption people make is“if it has antioxidants that must mean it is healthy and good for me.”

There are no need for any more assumptions- here’s the answer, plain and simple.

What are Anti-oxidants?

Fruits and vegetables

Lots of fruits and veggies have antioxidants!

Antioxidants are either 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. They are also a result of chemical ingredients in various products we use every day such as skin and hair products.

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

While avoiding free radicals may be quite a challenge, the good news is that we can use anti-oxidants to help counter their effects and restore our bodies natural health and vitality. In short, anti-oxidants 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 and ultimately prevent any damage that they may have caused.

Where are Anti-oxidants Found?

Red peppers

Peppers are a great source of antioxidants!

Of course most products and brands are going to be eager to advertise their product as containing antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off free radicals and keep us healthy. However, there is a wide variety of different sources of antioxidants, each being better suited to a specific body type or aliment. The most recommended of course is fruits and vegetables as they are a lot safer and healthier for your body. There is a reason you were forced to eat your veggies when you were a kid!

Some examples of natural fruit and vegetable sources of antioxidants are onions, blueberries, kale, cranberries, spinach, strawberries, brussel sprouts, red grapes, corn, plums, goji berries, red peppers and so much more!

However, this is really only the tip of the iceberg, as there are a ton of other sources of anti-oxidants out there including herbs and spices. Just a handful 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 people have a cup or two throughout the day anyway – just be sure to cut down on the sugar and sweeteners!

Benefits of Anti-oxidants

Variety of fruits

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 anti-oxidants 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 anti-oxidants 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. This allows you to maintain a youthful complexion without the risk of adding chemical-based products to your daily cleansing routine.

There are multiple benefits to antioxidant intake, one includes cardiovascular health. Not all antioxidants are found to protect against heart disease but some like Vitamin C do. The nutrient can cut the risk of stroke by as much as 50 percent. Antioxidants also improve memory and reduce the risk of dementia.

As you get older, and your body becomes weaker, anti-oxidants 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. Anti-oxidants are that treatment – and all natural too which is a pretty important benefit to anyone who cares about their health in general.

What Happens If You Lack Antioxidants?

There are so many options!

One of the major benefits of antioxidants discussed above is that it slows the process of aging. Therefore, if one is without antioxidants they are in greater risk of getting age related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cataracts, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Having antioxidants apart of your daily diet will help lower your risk of getting these diseases.  Eating fruits and vegetables is a lot better than the alternative that’s for sure!

Antioxidants are also extremely important for your eyes and it has been shown that antioxidants reduce the risk of developing advanced stages of age related macular degeneration. The best source of antioxidants is a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

We need to get a daily minimum of 8-11,000 antioxidant units a day. Not all fruits and vegetables are the same so you need to chose wisely what fruits and vegetables to eat. Especially when you are sick, stressed or tired you need to go above and beyond the antioxidant food minimum.  Ideally we should be consuming high powered fruits and vegetables like berries, beans and green tea all day long!

Antioxidant Super Shake Recipe

It is extremely easy to add more antioxidants to your daily diet. One way is by making a shake in the morning before you run out the door that contains ingredients that are high in antioxidants. Fill your blender with these ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of kale
  2. 1/2 cup of blueberries
  3. 1/2 cup of strawberries
    Fruit smoothie

    Try this delicious smoothie!

  4. 1 date
  5. 2 tablespoons of goji berries
  6. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  7. 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  8. 1/2 cup of coconut water
  9. 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Blend and then you are ready to go! If you are looking for some variety here are the ingredients to another smoothie filled with antioxidants!

  1. 2 cups of coconut milk
  2. 1 cup of frozen organic blueberries
  3. 1 oz of chia seeds
  4. handful of fresh greens of choice
  5. splash of vanilla extract

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 anti-oxidants 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 anti-oxidants 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 anti-oxidants in your diet is important for staying healthy and maintaining a youthful complexion which is important in a material world.

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