Antioxidants have become a hot topic of discussion for quite a while. We’ve often heard health products enriched with high levels of antioxidants. Do they really play a big role in our health? If you’re wondering about what your nutritionist has to say about foods containing antioxidants, then you should know what they are and what they do to our bodies. Antioxidants come in two types, synthetic and naturally-occurring. Enzymes are a prime example of naturally-synthesized antioxidants. They are naturally present in the body. They help neutralize free radicals that get into the body.
The definition of antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that have the ability to inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. In other words, these molecules despite how they’re formed can stop oxidation. For your information, oxidation is a process that could trigger or stimulate a chain reaction that ends up with free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for causing cell damage.
It becomes clear why health care experts encourage us to eat foods with antioxidants because they keep the body in its best natural shape. All substances that can do this specific task aka preventing oxidation can be classified as antioxidants. Aside from enzymes, vitamins and minerals also fall under this umbrella.
Types of antioxidants
As said before, there are two types, the naturally-occurring ones and the man-made ones. Enzymes are the natural type of antioxidants. Vitamins are different because we get them through a diet. Therefore, if you want to meet the needs for Vitamin A, B, C, and others, you need to consume foods that have those compounds or get them through supplements.
There is another type called phytochemicals. These antioxidants are made by plants. They help plants fight free radicals and keep them safe. Have you heard of flavonoids or carotenoids? They are actually two examples of antioxidants that belong to phytochemicals.
What they do to us
It’s hard to avoid pollutants especially those living in urban areas. One of the things that accelerates our aging process is pollutants in the environment. Aging is a part of life, but not everyone goes through it gracefully. Some look very young for their age, while others are not that fortunate to have youthful looks. Genetics are a factor, but the constant oxidation in the body also contributes to that.
There are chemical processes in the body as we speak that lead to the formation of free radicals. If you don’t start eating foods high in antioxidants, these processes will cause damage to the cells at a fast rate. You can help the body age gracefully by consuming foods that can provide you with large amounts of antioxidants. The best part is these foods are not pricey at all and readily available at every grocery store. They are called fruits and vegetables.
Eating these foods not only increase the defense mechanism of the body, but may also promote weight loss because they are rich in dietary fiber. There are many you can add to the list, such as whole grains, cocoa, spinach, nuts, raisins, tomatoes, etc. Since it’s impossible to avoid pollutants, UV rays, and other damaging factors, our best defense against them is antioxidants that we can get from foods.