Antioxidants Benefits – Latest Research Included

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Antioxidants help to prevent or slow down the destruction of cells by free radicals, unstable molecules that body cells produce in response to pressures from the environment and other factors.

Free radicals may increase the risk of inflammation and numerous health issues. They're sometimes referred to as “free-radical Scavengers.”

The sources of antioxidants could be natural or synthetic. Certain foods derived from plants are thought to be good sources of antioxidants. Plant-based antioxidants are one type of phytonutrient or plant-based nutrient.

In addition, the body produces antioxidants, which are endogenous. Antioxidants that are produced beyond the body's walls are exogenous.

Free radicals are waste products generated by cells when the body digests food and reacts with the environment. If the body's ability to eliminate free radicals effectively is impaired, oxidative stress may result. This stress can harm cells and bodily functions. Free radicals can also be referred to as reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Factors that can increase the creation of free radicals in the body could be internal, such as inflammation, or external, such as UV exposure, pollution, and smoking cigarettes.

It has also been connected with cancer, heart disease, arthritis as well as stroke, respiratory disorders as well as immune deficiency, emphysema, Parkinson's disease, and a variety of other ischemic or inflammatory ailments.

Antioxidants are thought to neutralize free radicals within our bodies. This is believed to improve overall health.

Benefits

Antioxidants help protect against cell damage free radicals can cause, which is called oxidative stress.

The activities and processes that create oxidative stress include:

  • mitochondrial activity
  • excessive exercise
  • tissues trauma as a result of injuries and inflammation
  • ischemia and reperfusion damage
  • eating certain foods, mainly processed and refined foods, synthetic sweeteners, trans fats, as well as certain additives and dyes
  • smoking
  • environmental pollution
  • radiation
  • chemical exposure, like the use of pesticides and pharmaceuticals, as well as chemotherapy
  • industrial solvents
  • ozone

These activities and exposures could cause cell injury.

It could, then, result in the following:

  • An excessive release of free copper or iron Ions that are released in excess
  • the activation of phagocytes, the type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in fighting infections
  • An increase in the amount of enzymes that generate free radicals
  • A disruption in electron transport chains

All of them can lead to oxidative stress.

Stress oxidation causes harm, including atherosclerosis, cancer, and loss of vision. Free radicals are believed to trigger changes in the cells that result in these and other ailments.

Consuming antioxidants may lower the risk of these diseases.

According to a report, “Antioxidants act as radical scavengers, hydrogen donor electro donor, peroxide decomposer singlet oxygen quenchers and synergists, enzyme inhibitors, and metal-chelating substances.”

Another study has shown antioxidant supplements can aid in reducing the loss of vision due to macular degeneration resulting from age for older individuals.

However, overall, there isn't much evidence that suggests a higher intake of antioxidants that are specific to you can lower the risk of getting sick. Studies often tend to demonstrate no positive or negative result or are contradictory.

Types

There are believed to be hundreds, possibly thousands of substances which could be used as antioxidants. Each plays a role and may interact with other to aid the body in working efficiently.

“Antioxidant” isn't actually the term used to describe the substance, but is a description of what set of substances can accomplish.

Examples of antioxidants that originate from outside your body are:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • beta-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • lutein
  • Selenium
  • manganese
  • Zeaxanthin

Flavonoids, flavones and catechins polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and flavones are all kinds of phytonutrients and antioxidants, and they all are found in plant-based food items.

Each antioxidant has a distinct purpose and cannot be interchangeable with one another. This is the reason it is vital to keep a variety in your diet.

Food sources

The most potent antioxidants are plants, particularly fruits and vegetables.

Foods that are high in antioxidants are usually called”superfoods, “which are also known as “functional diets.”

To get specific antioxidants, make sure you include these on your menu:

Vitamin A egg yolks and dairy produce and the liver

Vitamin C The majority of fruits and veggies, particularly citrus, berries and bell peppers

Vitamin E Seeds, nuts, sunflower, and various vegetable oils, as well as green leafy vegetables

Beta-carotene Colorful fruits and veggies, including peas, carrots and mangoes

Lycopene The red and pink vegetables and fruits, including watermelon and tomatoes

Lutein The leafy and green fruits, corn, papaya, and oranges

Selenium Corn, rice wheat, whole grains along with eggs, nuts, cheese, and other legumes

Other foods believed to be excellent antioxidants are:

  • eggplants
  • legumes, such as kidney beans or black beans
  • Teas with black and green leaves
  • Red grapes
  • Dark chocolate
  • pomegranates
  • goji berries

Goji berries, as well as a variety of other foods that are rich in antioxidants, can be purchased on the internet.

Foods that are vibrant in color typically contain the highest levels of antioxidants.

These foods provide excellent foods rich in antioxidants. Click on any of them to learn details about the health advantages as well as more information about their nutritional content:

  • blueberries
  • apples
  • Broccoli
  • spinach
  • lentils

The effects of cooking

Certain foods cooked in particular ways can boost or reduce antioxidant levels.

Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their vibrant red hue. If tomatoes are treated with heat, the lycopene is made more accessible to the body (making it easier for our body to process and utilize).

However, research has shown that peas, cauliflower and zucchini have a lot less of their antioxidant properties during processing. Be aware that the key is to eat a wide variety of antioxidant-rich food items, both cooked or raw.

Tips for a healthy diet

The following suggestions can aid in increasing your intake of antioxidants:

  • Take a piece of fruit and vegetable with every meal, including food, snacks, and meals.
  • Enjoy drinking a cup of matcha or green tea every day.
  • Check out the colors of your plate. If your food is predominantly beige or brown, the antioxidant levels will likely be low. Incorporate foods with vibrant hues, like beets, kale, and fruits.
  • Turmeric, cumin, oregano, ginger, and cinnamon can enhance your meals' flavor and high antioxidant value.
  • Eat seeds, nuts, especially Brazil seeds, sunflower nuts, and dried fruits, but choose them without added sugar or salt.

You can also try these delicious and healthy recipes developed through registered dietitians.

  • Smoothies made with almonds and cherries
  • Spicy cinnamon-ginger roasted carrots
  • Red quinoa and roast beet salad with balsamic vinegar made from orange beet
  • Carrot Cake power smoothie
  • Cashew, chickpeas, and kale superfood soup
  • Spicy Thai lettuce wraps
  • Cure-all juice.

There isn't any prescribed daily amount (RDA) to get antioxidants, however a large intake of plant-based foods is considered healthy.

Risks

It is important to keep in mind that while research has linked the consumption of vegetables and fruits to improved overall health however, it's not known what percentage of that is due to function of antioxidants. Also caution should be taken when it comes to supplements.

Supplements

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cautions that high dosages of antioxidant supplements may cause harm.

The consumption of a high amount of beta-carotene is linked to an increase in the risk of lung cancer among smokers. A high dosage of vitamin E is shown to increase the chance of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, consuming certain antioxidant supplements is associated with a higher likelihood of tumor growth.

Antioxidant supplements can also interact with medicines. It is essential to consult with your doctor prior to making use of any of these supplements.

Most studies have not established that using any specific antioxidant supplement or in a food could help fight off a disease.

There could be some benefits for those with a high risk of macular degeneration, however it is crucial to get advice from medical professionals on whether or not you should take supplements and what ones to take.

Takeaway

Free radicals are linked to various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and even loss of vision. However, this does not mean the consumption of antioxidants can prevent these illnesses. The synthetic sources of antioxidants can increase the risk of certain health issues.

In this way, it is crucial to find sources of antioxidants in nature, as part of a healthy diet.

Consuming vegetables and fruits has been associated with a lower incidence of chronic diseases. Antioxidants might play a role. It is however not likely that the consumption of antioxidants, particularly those from processed products, will offer substantial advantages.

Furthermore, anyone considering supplementing with antioxidants should talk with a doctor first.

Live Healthier
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