When environmental pollutants like smoking, pesticides, etc., surround humans, there is now even more need to take care of our health, with the most affected being the antioxidant levels in our body. Antioxidants, in simple terms, are responsible for protecting the cells from being damaged by various factors like free radicals and oxidative stress.
Antioxidants could be natural or artificial. The body is capable of producing antioxidants on its own as well. Still, with the growing amount of factors leading to the increased production of free radicals, it cannot fight the free radicals on its own. We need to go towards more antioxidant-rich food sources, and if that is not enough, then to the artificial sources. Artificial sources are supplements for antioxidants available in capsules or tablets.
There are endless types of antioxidants, and some of the most commonly known are
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
Our body must maintain a healthy level of antioxidants. They have various benefits like:
Fights against Free Radicals
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are required by the body in moderation in order to promote cell regeneration and growth. Though it causes a problem when the number increases manifold, which has been happening. There are various lifestyle and environmental changes that lead to a higher amount of free radicals, such as:
- Excessive alcohol intake.
- Radiation which could be through chemotherapy, UV rays, etc.
- Regular intake of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, certain food dyes, etc.
- Frequent and excessive exercise leads to tissue damage.
- Increased consumption or lack of antioxidants.
Large amounts of these free radicals are harmful to the body in the long run. They lead to cell damage which is called oxidative stress. Antioxidants are required to control this rise in the number of free radicals in the body.
Prevents Oxidative Stress
The higher the number of free radicals, the higher the risk of oxidative stress. The free radicals cause damage to the cells, which has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and neuropsychiatric diseases.
It has also been linked to inflammation, responsible for mood disorders and other heart-related diseases. These diseases, in turn, lead to more oxidative stress and ultimately higher health risks. Hence, everybody should have an antioxidant-rich diet, and if that is not enough, they should consult a doctor and get supplements.
Reduces the risk of Mental Health issues
Although psychological disorders are connected with genetics and other environmental factors, studies have shown that the free radicals and their rise numbers also negatively affect them. The brain is the most important and the most delicate organ of the body. It is very susceptible to harm by the free radicals. They are capable of hampering the growth of new brain cells.
These can become the causes of some mental disorders. Promising evidence has been found that an antioxidant-rich diet can help reduce anxiety and depression levels. Although even when eating antioxidant-rich food, the amount being consumed should be kept in check. Excess to anything is not suitable for our bodies.
Antioxidants are known for promoting the growth of new cells and are responsible for skin cell regeneration and repair. Inflammation hinders the skin repair process, and antioxidants also help control that. That is why main skincare products are now infused with antioxidants. The most popular could be vitamin C in skin care products like face serum, moisturisers, etc., which helps boost collagen production, hence giving smooth skin.
Although only applying antioxidant-rich skin care products can only help so much as it is all external application. So when you consult a dermatologist, their primary focus would be an antioxidant-rich diet like berries, nuts, etc.
Slows the Ageing Process
Inflammation caused by oxidative stress affects all parts of the body, especially the endocrine, digestive, immune, and nervous systems. Our body already ages with time, but the inflammation in our bodies adds to the already slowing processes, which are harmful.
DNA primarily controls our body’s aging process.
So what antioxidants do is protect our DNA, reduce inflammation, and slow down the aging process. Those who consume foods rich in antioxidants are much healthier than the other people who do not take care of the number of antioxidants in their bodies.
Promotes Brain Health
The brain is not only responsible for mental health but also a lot of other responsibilities. Oxidative stress damages neurons, which are essential for neurodegenerative disorders. Most neurodegenerative conditions include Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, caused by the loss of function in certain brain parts. There are still no cures for these, but studies show a positive relationship between the antioxidant levels in the body and the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases.
Hence antioxidants are highly crucial for a healthy life. There are various sources of antioxidants in our food sources. Some foods rich in antioxidants and most commonly available are:
- Vitamin A: Dairy products
- Vitamin C: Most the citrus fruits
- Vitamin E: Nuts, cereals
- Flavanoids: Most of the fruits, green tea, and soy products
All in all, it could be concluded that antioxidants play a vital role in our lives, especially in protecting our health from foreign invaders; hence every possible effort must be carried out from our side in order to balance the antioxidants level in our body.