Our body is made up of multiple substances. Antioxidants are the ones which protect our bodies from cellular damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals may be produced in our body as a by-product of body functions or as a result of environmental factors like air pollution, unhealthy diet, stressful conditions etc. But the good news is we can increase antioxidants in our body by taking a diet rich in them.
Role of antioxidants on body health
- There are multiple beneficial effects of consuming a diet rich in antioxidants. These are
- Detoxification of body
- Reduction in visible signs of ageing on skin
- Younger looking glowing skin
- Counteract ageing effects on body organs like heart, brain, bones, eyes etc
- Reduces chances of manifestation of cancer
- Protect our cells and tissues against free radical damage
- Healthy body and long life
- Slow the Effects of Aging by Reducing Free Radical Damage
How do antioxidants work?
The antioxidants work against ‘Free Radicals’ which are the most important enemies of our body. Free radicals are present inside our body. They have the capacity to oxidise the cells and tissues of our body which causes their destruction.
This leads to the development of different disease processes in our body like heart disease, cancer, premature ageing and degeneration of organs, harmful effects on skin etc. Antioxidants act as our body’s powerful weapons against free radicals. They neutralise these free radicals and thus guard our body against their deleterious effects.
Protection of our Eyes sparkle
Certain specific foods rich in lutein, Vitamin C, E and beta-carotenes have a protective action on the lens of eyes. They act as antioxidants and prevent degeneration of eyes and loss of vision, thus being termed as Eye vitamins. They are found abundantly in coloured fruits like berries and green leafy vegetables like spinach.
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene have all been shown to have positive effects on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related vision loss/blindness.
Maintain the Skin Shine
Free radicals produced from air pollution, poor nutrition, stresses etc may damage our skin by fastening the ageing process. Thus they give a dull and lusterless appearance to our skin. Antioxidants combat these ill effects of free radicals on our skin.
Antioxidants thus help in reducing skin dryness and control the formation of wrinkles. Eating antioxidant-rich foods can help us maintain a young and healthy looking skin for long.
Reduce risk of stroke and heart disease
Certain antioxidants, especially Vitamin C, protect against heart disease and stroke. People who have a good dietary intake of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices etc are blessed with a strong heart and long healthy life.
Decrease the occurrence of Cancer
Free radicals form the base for development of cancer in our body by affecting our DNA. This altered DNA thus further lead to changes in cell metabolism and their function.
This conversion of normal cells into cells with uncontrolled growth leads to the development of liver cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer etc. Research has shown that increasing intake of antioxidants has a great role in prevention and treatment of cancer.
Equip us with good memory
Degenerative disorders of our brain occur due to oxidative stress. Studies have shown that inclusion of foods enriched with antioxidants helps in maintaining cognitive abilities and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods rich in antioxidants
There are many foods like herbs, spices etc which are rich in antioxidants. Top foods amongst these are
Berries like Goji berries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, Elderberries
Foods like carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables like spinach, pomegranate, grapes, Kidney beans, Pecans, Artichoke, Dark chocolate, Cilantro, Pumpkin seeds, Red wine
Herbs enriched with antioxidants
There are many herbs which can act as our natural sources of antioxidants. These are
Clove, Cinnamon, Oregano, Turmeric, Cocoa, Cumin, Dried garlic, Cayenne pepper, Green tea, Parsley, Basil, Ginger, Thyme
Polyphonic bioflavonoid – Resveratrol
Lavender Essential Oil
Frankincense Essential Oil
Employing healthy habits
Following habits can help our body in fighting the enemy of free radicals and boost our army of antioxidants:
- Reducing amount of processed food intake
- Inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables in diet
- Avoiding excessive salty and sugary snacks
- Consuming meat and dairy products from natural sources without hormones
- Substitute margarine with avocado or natural butter
- Avoid foods with artificial sweeteners and synthetic components
- Regular exercise helps flush out free radical toxins from body
- Protect against air pollution and UV radiations
Thus adopting a healthy lifestyle free of stresses is a key to long and healthy life. To battle day to day unavoidable stresses, consume antioxidant-rich foods.