What are Antioxidants?
One of the latest buzzwords that you may have heard floating around the health and wellness scene is “antioxidants”. But what are they, and why the sudden focus on them?
The truth is that antioxidants are nothing new, and they are important for a variety of different reasons. In this article, we’ll take a look at what antioxidants are, how they work, and what foods are rich in them.
What Are Antioxidants?
Essentially, antioxidants are molecules found in certain foods which are capable of preventing (or at least slowing down) the oxidation of other molecules. Basically, the oxidation process is like rusting in that it can damage cells and cause disease.
But the good news is that antioxidants can block the oxidation process and help to protect the cells from damage and disease. That’s why it’s so important to get an adequate supply of antioxidants in your diet.
Types of Antioxidants
There are two primary types of antioxidants: enzymatic and non-enzymatic. Enzymatic antioxidants come from enzymes, and they are proteins which are produced by the body to help regulate metabolism and neutralize free radicals.
Non-enzymatic antioxidants, on the other hand, come from vitamins and phytonutrients found in certain foods. These compounds have a wide variety of benefits, and some of the best-known examples include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lycopene, and polyphenols.
Possible Health Benefits
The amount of research into the health benefits of antioxidants is increasing every day, and it’s easy to see why. Many studies suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants can protect against a wide range of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and age-related illnesses.
Antioxidants also appear to aid in digestion and help the body metabolize fat and carbohydrates more effectively. In addition, some studies suggest that antioxidants may even be able to slow down the aging process by blocking oxidative stress.
One of the best ways to get a steady supply of antioxidants is to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet rich in foods that are naturally high in antioxidants. Some of the best sources of antioxidants include fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, beans, and whole grains.
Green tea is also an excellent source of antioxidants, as is dark chocolate. As for specific fruits and vegetables, some of the top contenders are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, spinach, kale, broccoli, and carrots.
Overall, we’ve seen that antioxidants are essential for maintaining good health and wellness. They can prevent the oxidation of cells, which in turn can help protect against disease and the signs of aging. By eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidant-rich foods, you can easily get the antioxidants you need.