All You Need To Know About Antioxidants

Every day, the cells in your body are at risk of Infections and viruses targeting them. Free radicals may also harm your DNA and cells. Free radicals are chemicals that scientists think may speed up aging. While some cells can recover from the harm, others cannot. Additionally, they might contribute to conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer—chemicals known as antioxidants aid in preventing or limiting the harm done by free radicals. 

Antioxidants are used by your body to counteract free radicals. This prevents them from harming other cells. Antioxidants can defend against damage and even undo part of it. They also help strengthen our immune system to fight off disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Eating a balanced diet is a great method to give your body the antioxidant vitamins and minerals it requires. However, did you realize that a healthy diet offers even more inherent advantages? You’ve probably heard that antioxidants are found in healthy meals.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds that shield cells from the harm done by free radicals, unstable molecules produced by the oxidation process that occurs during normal metabolism. Antioxidants prevent oxidation, especially the deterioration of food products that have been stored in our bodies. They can be easily found to occur naturally in food items. An antioxidant can be any of the following:

  • Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, etc.
  • Flavonoids and carotenoids are natural compounds found in plants.
  • Minerals, like Selenium

Cells in your body are shielded from damage by antioxidants. As you become older, cell damage becomes inevitable. Additionally, it may occur if you are exposed to pollutants or cigarette smoke on a regular basis. Common illnesses like diabetes and heart disease can be caused by cell damage. Your chance of developing these diseases can be decreased with an antioxidant-rich diet than counteracts these disease-causing agents and keeps your body healthy. 

What Are Some Good Sources Of Antioxidants?

Antioxidants can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta, beans, cereal, lentils, seeds, nuts, garlic, vegetable oils, and green tea. Let us look at some of the best antioxidant sources and how you can effortlessly incorporate them into your diet.

Vitamin C: 

  • Add potatoes, red, yellow, or green peppers, spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other vegetables to stir-fry recipes, or serve them with a low-fat dip.
  • Strawberries and raspberries can be mixed into yogurt or a smoothie or added to a fruit salad.
  • Enjoy the benefits of tropical fruits, including mangos, kiwis, papayas, grapefruits, and guavas.

Vitamin E:

  • Add sunflower seeds and almonds to porridge and cereal, or sprinkle them on salads.
  • On whole grain bread, spread nut butters rich in vitamin E, such as almond or peanut butter.
  • Avocados can be used to make guacamole dip, smoothies, sandwiches, and salads.
  • Wheat germ can be added to muffins, bread, and cereal. 
  • At least once or twice a week, consume fish. Salmon, herring, halibut, tuna, and mackerel are all great sources of vitamin E.

Flavonoids: 

  • Go for green tea instead of coffee.
  • Strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry toppings can be added to cereal, salads, yogurt, low-fat frozen yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Incorporate red grapes and apples into a fruit salad or green salad.

Carotenoids:

  • Have some brown rice or whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce on top.
  • Have some freshly baked or roasted squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
  • Combine kale, spinach, and other dark leafy vegetables in a salad.

What Are Antioxidant Supplements, And Should You Take Them?

Antioxidants, which are biochemical substances that stabilize free radicals, are concentrated in antioxidant supplements. Your body naturally produces free radicals during digestion and exercise. Free radicals are also produced by environmental variables like UV radiation, air pollution, tobacco smoke, and chemical products like pesticides. It is widely believed that consuming antioxidant supplements shields the body’s cells from the harm of free radicals, extending life and preventing disease. 

You shouldn’t consume these antioxidant supplements. It is mainly because some antioxidant supplements might contain more of them than you require in your body. This can prove to be dangerous. Speak with your doctor if you are considering taking an antioxidant supplement. Eating a range of antioxidant-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruit, pasta, whole grain bread, cereal, lentils, beans, seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, green tea, and garlic, will provide you with all the antioxidants your body needs.

Consume Antioxidants, But In A Controlled Amount

As discussed above, our body requires antioxidants, but as we all know, excess of anything is bad. These same agents responsible for fighting off diseases and strengthening our immune system can instead harm it if not taken in controlled dosages.

A balanced diet is recommended for obtaining all necessary antioxidants rather than additional antioxidant supplements. Antioxidant supplementation has more negative effects on health than positive ones. Large doses of antioxidant supplements are not advised for a variety of reasons.

  • It May Decrease Excercise Performance: Free radicals are a natural byproduct of your body’s metabolic activities during exercise. Your body produces more free radicals the longer and harder you exercise. It has been suggested that consuming antioxidant supplements would reduce the negative effects of free radicals, which would enhance exercise capacity and muscle recovery. But numerous studies have demonstrated that consuming antioxidant supplements interferes with how your body reacts to exercise and perhaps negates some of the health advantages connected with exercise.
  • It May Increase Cancer Risk: Free radicals’ oxidative stress on the cells in our body is believed to be a key factor in the emergence of cancer. Taking antioxidant supplements has been suggested to lower the risk of acquiring cancer and dying from it because antioxidants fight free radicals. Additionally, selenium may aid in cancer prevention in those with low concentrations of the mineral or those who have a high risk of developing the disease. Before selenium can be suggested for this use, more research is required.
  • It May Cause Birth Defects: The growth and development of the fetus depend on vitamin A. However, taking excessive vitamin A supplements may increase the likelihood of birth abnormalities. Therefore, using large amounts of vitamin A supplements is not advised for pregnant women. These supplements are only advised for expectant mothers in regions with a high prevalence of vitamin A deficiency, such as African and Southeast Asian countries. Although there is no evidence that beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, causes birth abnormalities, pregnant women should discuss it with their doctor before taking beta-carotene supplements.

Concluding Thoughts

Antioxidants are organic compounds that naturally occur in food and may help reduce your chance of developing chronic diseases and boost your immune system. Although antioxidant supplements are frequently regarded as good, excess use might cause problems. They may reduce the health advantages of exercise and raise your risk of developing some malignancies and birth problems.

In general, a balanced diet is a much better way to ensure that your body gets the antioxidants it needs. You might want to consider taking antioxidant vitamins tablets with minerals if you find it difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables. You should always consult your doctor before taking excessive amounts of antioxidants because they can also interfere with some medications. They can assist you in choosing the best antioxidant supplement for you.

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