11 Facts About Antioxidants You Need to Know!Lisa Kilgour, Nutritionist
August 7, 2017
What do sunburns, Alzheimer’s Disease, and wrinkled skin all have in common? The simple answer; free radicals.
Free radicals are a natural by-product of life. We create them when we’re stressed, when we eat foods fried at a high temperature, and when we breathe. They’re simply a part of life.
At a molecular level, they’re unstable molecules that are missing an electron, and steal one from an unsuspecting stable molecule making it unstable.
This microscopic game of finder’s keeper’s can damage cells and even our DNA, and can accelerate many disease processes including Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes.
But! Our body is full of antioxidant superheroes to the rescue!
We’ve all heard of antioxidants, but what are they really? In short, antioxidants have an extra electron, and can donate it to an unstable free radical without becoming unstable. They create a beautiful balance.
While free radicals are produced by many important bodily functions, like breathing (we need to breathe!), antioxidants come from the food we eat. Colourful fruits and veggies are the most potent source of antioxidants. Every colour contains a different antioxidant superhero. Vitamins A, C, & E, as well as selenium also contain potent antioxidant superpowers.
Superfoods get their “super” name mostly due to their huge amount of antioxidants.
As we age our ability to fend against free radicals decreases, making it even more important to eat a diet filled to the brim with colourful fruits, veggies and superfoods. You may even slow down your ageing process.
11 important facts about antioxidants:
- Internal sunburn protection – A sunburn is mostly free radical damage, so you can help to protect your skin by stocking up on lots of antioxidants.
- Protects your heart – Antioxidants protect tissues throughout the body and can protect against heart disease & stroke.
- Reduces risk of cancer – Studies have found that people who eat more fruits and veggies have a lower risk of cancer. It’s a delicious way to cut your cancer risk!
- Reduces diabetic complications – High blood sugar creates free radicals, so everyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes could benefit from a nice hit of extra antioxidants.
- Defends against dementia – Research has found that people who consumed the most vitamin C & E cut their risk of dementia by up to 50%!
- Protects your eyes – Including against macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamins C & E, and beta-carotene are particularly supportive of the eyes.
- Balances your immune system – Powerful antioxidants in spirulina have been found to boost the immune system while also protecting cell membranes.
- Helps to combat the effects of air pollution – Research has found that Vitamin C is an important nutrient to protect the lungs from pollution, especially if one suffers from asthma or COPD.
- Balances mood – Flavonoids, found in bright colourful fruits and veggies have been found to have mood-enhancing properties.
- Helps your body deal with pesticides – Cool fact; studies have found that organic produce is higher in antioxidants. It seems that plants use antioxidants to protect themselves from daily life stressors, just like us!. And green veggies, containing chlorophyll, can help your body flush pesticides from your system.
- Reduces inflammation – Antioxidants can help repair cells injured by inflammation as well as reducing inflammation. The bright colour and high antioxidant levels in turmeric is one of the reasons it’s a potent inflammation fighter.
Antioxidants work best together, they love synergy! Enjoy all of the colours in the rainbow and help your body stay healthy, young, and vibrant!