Collection: Antioxidants

Antioxidants play an important role in your overall health and wellbeing. They are the tiny molecules that help to fight harmful free radicals, the unstable substances which damage your cells and can lead to a host of serious long-term health problems. Your body produces free radicals when it processes food or responds to its environment.

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What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high. Antioxidants are important because they neutralise free radicals in your body, which can prevent cell damage and contribute to disease prevention.

How do antioxidants work?

Antioxidants work by donating an electron to free radicals to neutralise them, thereby preventing the free radicals from causing cellular damage.

What foods are high in antioxidants?

Foods high in antioxidants include berries, dark chocolate, pecans, artichokes, coffee, and kidney beans, among others.

Can antioxidants prevent diseases?

Some studies suggest antioxidants can contribute to the prevention of some diseases, particularly those related to oxidative stress.

Are there risks associated with antioxidants?

Generally, antioxidants obtained from food are safe, but high doses of some antioxidant supplements may be linked to health risks.

How do antioxidants benefit the skin?

Antioxidants can protect the skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells, helping to reduce signs of ageing and improve skin health.

Can antioxidants aid in weight loss?

There is no conclusive evidence that antioxidants directly aid in weight loss, but they can be part of a healthy diet that supports weight management.

What is the role of antioxidants in exercise recovery?

Antioxidants may help with exercise recovery by reducing muscle damage and inflammation caused by oxidative stress during intense physical activity.

How can antioxidants improve heart health?

Antioxidants may benefit heart health by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Can antioxidants help with brain health?

Research suggests that antioxidants may play a role in slowing cognitive decline and could be beneficial for brain health.

In the quest for better health, one word often pops up with the promise of vitality and longevity: antioxidants. These potent substances, which are found in abundance in many fruits, vegetables, and other foods, are touted for their ability to fight off disease and ageing. But what exactly are antioxidants, and how do they benefit our bodies?

• What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids can prevent or slow the damage caused by free radicals, which are often the culprits behind inflammation, ageing, and diseases.

• How Do Antioxidants Work?

To understand the function of antioxidants, imagine your body as a bustling city where the balance between construction (building new cells) and demolition (breaking down old ones) is vital. Free radicals are like uncontrolled demolition crews, wreaking havoc by damaging cell walls, DNA, and other essential components. Antioxidants act as the supervisors, controlling these crews and ensuring they don’t cause harm to the surrounding area (healthy cells).

• The Benefits of Antioxidants

The benefits of antioxidants are widespread. They play a crucial role in keeping our bodies healthy by:

  • Protecting our skin: Antioxidants like vitamins C and E protect against UV damage and can improve skin texture and reduce signs of ageing.
  • Supporting immune function: By defending against oxidative stress, antioxidants can bolster the immune system.
  • Promoting eye health: Compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin guard against age-related eye disorders.
  • Enhancing brain health: Antioxidants can influence brain health by reducing oxidative stress, which is associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Reducing the risk of chronic diseases: The reduction of free radicals in the body can decrease the risk of various chronic diseases including heart disease and some cancers.

• Sources of Antioxidants

The best way to ensure a good intake of antioxidants is through a balanced diet. Here’s where you can find them:

  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, berries, melons, bell peppers, and dark leafy greens.
  • Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Beta-carotene: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale.
  • Lycopene: Tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, fish, turkey, and chicken.

• Do Antioxidants Have Any Side Effects?

Generally, antioxidants found in foods are safe. Problems usually arise with the overconsumption of supplements. High doses of antioxidants can be harmful, potentially leading to health issues.

• Incorporating Antioxidants into Your Diet

Adding more antioxidants to your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips:

  • Go colourful: Fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
  • Snack smart: Choose nuts and seeds over processed snacks.
  • Brew a cup: Green tea is high in catechins, a type of antioxidant.
  • Spice it up: Many spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon, are also rich in antioxidants.

Antioxidants are invaluable allies in maintaining health and preventing disease. By understanding how they work and ensuring we get enough through our diet, we can harness their protective power. Remember, the key to benefiting from antioxidants is a balanced diet full of a variety of nutrients. So next time you’re at the grocery store, reach for the colourful produce, knowing that you’re not just adding flavour to your meals, you’re giving your body the defensive arsenal it needs to keep you moving, looking, and feeling fantastic.

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