Top 5 Best Antioxidants & Their Health Benefits
Antioxidants have become a popular subject among health-concerned individuals recently, and it is easy to see why. These powerful compounds are involved in preventing the oxidation of molecules and play a critical role in maintaining human health. For this reason, many companies use antioxidants to preserve food as well as enhance the effectiveness of certain beauty products. Ironically, most people don't know exactly what antioxidants are and how they work. In fact, own bodies create antioxidants every day as part of regular physiological function and maintenance. The antioxidants produced by the body are vital to fighting toxins and achieving physiological balance. The toxins that our bodies have to deal with daily, whether created within the body due to stress or as a result of exposure to pollution, produce free radicals within the body that speed up the breakdown of tissue and cause disease. As part of the body's regular effort against these dangerous substances, the body produces different antioxidant compounds, one of which, glutathione, is known as the most potent endogenous antioxidant, present in almost every tissue in the body. On top of that, there are an abundance of different antioxidants present within many plant-based foods that when consumed, can significantly contribute to ensuring optimum health and vitality.
When free radicals overwhelm our innate regulatory mechanisms, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues which can alter vital proteins, lipids, and DNA, thus triggering the onset of many different diseases. One of the most abundant free radicals is called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is mainly produced by the cells from the blood vessel linings and is involved in many different cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, arrhythmia, and hypertension. Not surprisingly, free radicals can also be attributed to the development of cancer cells due to their ability to alter the DNA sequences in healthy cells. Other types of free radicals can be created in the body when digestion is impaired, and food is not broken down properly, when consuming highly processed food that has been chemically altered to sustain shelf-life, or when the body is exposed to toxic environmental pollutants. Antioxidants' primary action lies in their ability to neutralize free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have lost an electron due to oxidation and because of this, attempt to steal electrons from surrounding stable molecules rendering them unstable. This process then continues and.. well you can see the problem. Antioxidants, on the other hand, well, they are molecules that carry extra electrons in their outer shell that are available for donation to unstable free radical molecules. When this donation occurs, the free radical is neutralized and reverted back to a stable molecule, unable to continue causing harm to healthy cellular structures. For this reason, antioxidants also promote normal repairing mechanisms within the body and can even slow down the aging process.
Since antioxidants slow down and prevent the oxidation of important molecules within the body, their role in human health is now more critical than ever before. As mentioned above, the reason antioxidants are now more crucial to health than ever before is because our bodies are subject to far more toxins than ever before in history. From environmental toxicity in the air and water to processed, commercially manufactured foods and conventional household cleaning products, toxins are everywhere. The good news is that while toxins are bombarding the majority of the world's ecosystem these days and creating free radicals within our bodies, this can simply be combated by incorporating more nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich foods into our diets. Of course, because drastically changing one's diet may not be the most convenient option for many people, using a quality nutritional supplement is another option for gaining all of the remarkable health benefits of antioxidants. Below, we'll discuss some of the most well-known health benefits of antioxidants, along with a list of great antioxidant-rich foods that you can try, as well as an analysis of some of the popular antioxidant supplements available on the market.
Benefits of antioxidants
1. Boost brain function
Studies show that antioxidants help you to improve cognitive function and as well as reduce the risk of dementia. This is because free radicals trigger inflammation in the brain, and there is compelling evidence that brain inflammation is a significant cause of depression along with many other degenerative brain diseases.
2. Reduce oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is brought about when there is an imbalance in the production of free radicals, which can lead to the development of diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. Antioxidants help us maintain this balance, thus reducing oxidative stress.
3. Prevent cancer
It has been demonstrated in some studies that antioxidants may be able to slow down and potentially even prevent the development of cancer. Cancer has many different roots or causes, and one of them results from the damage inflicted on cellular structures and DNA by free radicals. Antioxidants can neutralize these free radicals, thus likely protecting you from cancer, and also slowing down tumor growth for those who already have it.
4. Improve eye health
Many studies have uncovered positive results with cataracts and other eye-related problems that can lead to blindness in people over 65 years of age. Antioxidants can slow down the degeneration of healthy tissue, which is very important to keep the tissues of the eye transparent, thus allowing for clear vision.
5. Help hair growth
Antioxidants can improve hair growth because they help to maintain collagen, which is the connective tissue that hair is made of. They also help to protect the blood vessels from the scalp, providing the ground to create new healthy hair.
6. Keep skin healthy
Antioxidants protect the skin from harmful mutations and inflammation in addition to helping to improve uneven complexion. Antioxidants can also brighten dull skin and make for a more radiant and young look. Some antioxidants may even promote the strength of the skin, thus helping the body's integumentary system withstand the many different rigors of daily life. This is why antioxidants are often found in sunscreens because they can help the skin defend itself from the stress caused by the exposure to UV light.
7. Prevent age-related macular degeneration
Age causes tissue to degenerate, including our nerves. As the time passes, free radical damage can accumulate, thus leading to various sensory-related complications, such as blindness. Some different clinical trials have shown that high doses of antioxidants can prevent or delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration by around 25 percent.
9 Best antioxidant foods
You can choose to consume a diet high in antioxidants simply by incorporating nutritious foods that are rich in these substances. Below, we will offer you a list of the best antioxidant foods along with a brief summary of their known vitamin and mineral content so that you can start on your way to incorporating them into your diet plan and experience an overall boost in vitality. These antioxidant-rich foods include:
Grapes have a high content of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C as well as phytonutrients known as carotenoids. Even melatonin content has been identified in grapes which is an antioxidant and a hormone that is produced by the body during sleep and frequently used to combat insomnia.
Many types of berries, specifically blueberries are known to prevent cellular damage as well and inflammation. They contain phytochemicals that prevent heart and cardiovascular diseases. They also contain minerals and vitamins that help to improve your immune system. Not only the cardiovascular system has benefits with the antioxidants in blueberries. Almost every other body organ and the system will benefit. For instance, new studies show that the damage to the muscles following exercise can be reduced through blueberries consumption. The nervous system will also be protected, and this effect has been demonstrated in older adults at risk of neurodegenerative diseases, and younger population as well.
Nuts provide your body with healthy fats, and also contain small amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. Additionally, all of the variants of nuts offers a unique set of phytochemicals, minerals, and fats. For example, walnuts are rich in Omega-3 while Brazilian nuts are rich in selenium, a vital mineral that is also a powerful antioxidant. However, most nuts also contain resveratrol which is an antioxidant that has been shown to positively impact cholesterol levels.
4. Green vegetables:
They are rich in Vitamins such as Vitamin C, A, and E. They are also rich in essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. They also contain kaempferol which is an antioxidant phytochemical. This antioxidant has cancer-fighting properties and helps dilate blood vessels. Some vegetables like kales, lettuce, and leeks contain quercetin and lutein which are also potent antioxidants.
5. Sweet potatoes:
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of antioxidant carotenoid pigments, and they can even be a better source of beta-carotene than many other leafy vegetables. Purple-fleshed sweet potato is particularly abundant in antioxidant anthocyanin pigments. Two of them, cyanidins and peonidins, have been found to lower the risk posed by heavy metal residues, such as small amounts of mercury or arsenic in the digestive tract.
6. Green tea:
It contains protective phytochemicals such as the catechin epigallocatechin gallate, which is a potent antioxidant. It is available in a decaf option for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
7. Whole grains:
Research shows that people who regularly consume whole grains have a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. Most whole grains contain essential mineral such as selenium, zinc and they also contain phytochemicals that help to prevent cancer and heart diseases. You can get to incorporate whole grains into your diet by consuming whole grain bread, brown rice, and corn tortillas.
They contain many minerals and vitamins as well as antioxidants. For example, soybeans contain zinc, calcium, Vitamin C, and selenium. Black-eyed peas and lentils contain zinc and folate. Kidney beans and black beans are also a rich source of folate. Some varieties of legumes such as garbanzo beans contain significant amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene, as well as antioxidant phytonutrients.
All fish are a great source of omega-3 which helps to prevent diseases such as coronary heart disease. They are also a source of Vitamin D and contain antioxidants as well. Different varieties of fish contain different types and proportions of antioxidants. For example, tuna contains small amounts of vitamin C, zinc, and manganese, but it's rich in the antioxidant mineral selenium, which is present in a chemical variant called selenoneine. Selenoneine provides special protection to red blood cells, thus protecting us from cardiovascular diseases.
5 Best antioxidant supplements
Although it is better to go for foods that are rich in antioxidants, sometimes these foods are not adequately absorbed by the body, or they are unavailable. This is where the antioxidants come in handy to increase the level of antioxidants we can get from the diet. This review has captured the five best antioxidant supplements that are available in the market.
Activa Naturals has formulated a product that provides a rich source of antioxidants naturally by combining a unique blend of natural ingredients such as Pomegranate, Acai, Noni, Goji, Cherry, Resveratrol, grapes, and berries. These components also help to provide essential nutritional support as well as boosting your immunity. It has no additives, no chemicals, and no fillers, which means that this whole food supplement will not cause bodily harm, even with continued use.
The cherry, grapes, and berries contained in the supplements are also rich in Vitamin C, A, and E. Vitamin A is essential for regulating growth and multiplication of cells in your body, it helps your body to produce white blood cells for a better immunity, and also maintain healthy bones. Vitamin E prevents your cell membranes from being damaged, and it also prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which can form plaque in your arteries. Vitamin C helps your body to produce collagen, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, but it also helps to protect you from the damage that arises from free radicals. This supplement can also prevent toxic heavy-metal buildup as well as boosting immune function, helping to shield the body from various illnesses.
In addition to containing a broad spectrum of whole food sources such as broccoli, spinach, beets, cherries, blackberries, and kale, among others, this high-quality antioxidant supplement is also rich in Vitamins E and A. At the same time, this product from Garden of Life contains no fillers or additives, which means that consuming toxic levels of this supplement is highly unlikely, even with prolonged use. This high performing antioxidant can help prevent the occurrence of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, diabetes, or heart disease, as well as simple ailments such as cold and flu.
The antioxidant vitamins E and A, as well as the mineral selenium and vital enzyme complex contained within this supplement, offer an essential mix of ingredients that can help improve your skin and eyesight. Furthermore, consuming the right amount of vitamins and sufficient antioxidants can also strengthen your bones and allow you to experience greater performance during your workout sessions. Most importantly, antioxidants protect your arteries because they prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and building up. They also help to prevent age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness among older people. Finally, antioxidants have also been shown to potentially reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and protect against many forms of cancer.
This antioxidant supplement is composed of natural, herb-based ingredients. An all natural source of antioxidants, these herbal ingredients include Marquis Berry, trans-resveratrol, Acai Berry, Vitamin C, and grape seed. Furthermore, the beneficial compounds found in this formula may considerably boost immunity and overall health.
The trans-resveratrol contained in this supplement helps against aging and also prevents age-related ailments which lead to increased longevity. Grape seed extracts contain polyphenols which are potent antioxidants and are also helpful in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Also, vitamin C is essential in protecting against cancer, decreasing the effects of age-related macular degeneration, and protecting the heart by preventing the oxidation or build-up of cholesterol. This supplement also promotes overall health without any side effects.
While this supplement contains a variety of antioxidants and nutrients similar to other comparable health-supplement products, it also contains coenzyme Q10 or CoQ which supports vital components involved in cellular energy production. As a result, the benefits associated with using this supplement may help to prevent age-related health issues by slowing down free radical damage. Coenzyme Q10 targets the mitochondria within cells which is where the primary energy producing processes for all of the body's cells occur. The positive effects associated with supporting cellular energy through the use of CoQ may enhance the health of the brain, kidneys, heart, and liver among others. Ultimately, by protecting the body's cells against free radical damage, greater overall energy and vitality can be experienced.
Low levels of CoQ are risky as it can lead to heart disease and other complicated ailments. Unfortunately, these CoQ levels start to deplete once you get to the age of 30. Thankfully, Natures Way has decided to offer this critical nutrient within their cellular energy formula, providing a simple supplement solution to improving overall health, reducing the effects of aging, and fighting free radicals.
Health Force has formulated a quality antioxidant supplement containing a high ORAC value. This is merely a measurement of antioxidant power. Utilizing Acai resveratrol and superfoods like turmeric as well as various whole food extracts, this antioxidant supplement also contains trans-resveratrol which helps to boost immunity and reverse aging by enabling the body to express the longevity gene! This effect may be attributed to the neutralization of free radicals as well as the added boost in whole food nutrition. The supplement is made from all natural ingredients and is packaged in an all-vegan capsule.
The grapes contained in the supplement are an excellent source of vitamin C and E, vitamins that have been shown to protect against cancer. Also, they help prevent muscular degeneration that is age-related and can help ensure a healthy heart by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which has been shown to be a likely cause of the clumping of cholesterol molecules and subsequent blocking of arteries.
From this information, it is clear that antioxidants are beneficial to our health as they help to slow down the process of aging by fighting against free radical damage, improving immunity, and preventing many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also help improve cognitive function, eyesight and hair growth as a result of a reduction in oxidative stress.
You can can obtain sufficient antioxidants in your diet simply by incorporating foods that are rich in these compounds, as indicated earlier in this article under the best antioxidant food section. The challenge that arises from relying only on natural foods to supply your body with the required antioxidants is that your body may either have difficulty absorbing the nutrients already present, or vital nutrients can become sparsely unavailable depending on the country or season harvested. Also, the preparation processes of certain foods, even natural food products can lower nutrient and antioxidant levels. Without sufficient antioxidants in the diet, free radical damage can run rampant and damage the body over time, speeding up aging and potentially causing disease.
To avoid all of this, it is recommended that you combine a nutritious diet with a high-quality antioxidant supplement. This way, you can rest assured that your body is receiving ample servings of antioxidants to maintain optimal health effectively. Hopefully, this review of the best antioxidant foods and supplements can help motivate you to eat healthier and make smart choices in regards to all natural nutritional supplementation. Furthermore, while the advantages of antioxidants are well-known, antioxidants should never be viewed as an alternative treatment to serious health conditions, and it is always advised to consult your doctor regarding incorporating any health supplement into your daily routine.