Antioxidants for a Healthier You
What you eat is indeed what you become. That’s why antioxidants are so important in your daily diet.
Antioxidants can be man-made, but are also natural molecules found in many plants and vegetables. They are called “anti”-oxidants because they help to inhibit the oxidation process (a chemical process known to cause damage to cells, and one of the causes of aging).
Antioxidants work by preventing the effect of free radicals (unstable molecules that attack other molecules to become stable, often causing a cell-damaging chain reaction). Free radicals can be produced by the body during metabolism or to fight off viruses, but also come from the environment - pollution, UV light or smoking are key contributors. Antioxidants interact with the free radical molecules, stabilizing them, and slowing the cell damage.
There is still a lot of research being conducted to fully understand antioxidants and their benefits. However, there is good evidence that eating a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruits is healthy, lowers risks of certain diseases and can help to improve the appearance of skin.
Experts recommend 5 to 8 servings a day of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables as a natural way to slow free radical damage and help your body and skin.
Examples of some popular natural antioxidants include:
Beta-carotene – Found in carrots, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A; Benefits include: lower their risk of coronary artery disease, stroke and macular degeneration; skin wrinkling and sagging
Lutein – Found in mangoes, corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, tomatoes and dark, leafy greens such as kale, collards and bok choy; Benefits include: lower risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
Lycopene – Found in tomatoes, watermelons, pink grapefruits, apricots; Benefits include: lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, protect against UV damage to skin (but you still need to wear sunscreen!)
Vitamin A Found in kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and broccoli; Benefits include: healthy vision, bone growth, cell functions and immune system; skin acne, wrinkling, sagging and hyper-pigmentation
Vitamin C Found in oranges, red peppers, kale, brussel sprouts, strawberries, grapefruit; Benefits include: lower the risk of immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular and eye diseases; skin wrinkling and hyperpigmentation
Vitamin E Found in swiss chard, spinach, kale; Benefits include: Healthy immune system and eyes; skin wrinkling and sagging
Scientists are still studying the long-term effects of antioxidants, so for now the best source for your body is fresh fruits and vegetables. For skin, look for products with vitamin E, C and A and other natural plant based antioxidants.
To read more about antioxidants, follow the links above for each vitamin or visit: