Protecting your body from oxidative and free radical stress with antioxidants is one of the best things you can do to promote health and wellbeing.
Loosley defined, a free radical is a molecule that can bind to and damage a part of the body. This could be anywhere and include isolated or multiple sites like the heart, eyes, skin or even the brain. Health conditions related to oxidative stress and free radical overload include macular degeneration, diabetes, varicose veins, osteoarthritis, cognitive decline, asthma and fertility issues.
What causes these free radicals? A poor diet is number one on the list followed by chronic illness, environmental toxins, age, stress and some medications to name a few. If we are not consuming a broad diet rich in plant foods, than we are simply not getting enough antioxidants. You may want to approach it as an eveyday must do as opposed to a once or twice a week chore.
You have probably heard about the compounds that are antioxidants. They include the families of polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidins. You will find them in your brightly coloured fruits and vegetables and you've heard the saying "eat the colours of the rainbow" and these are what are considered phytonutrients.
The list of these nutrients is endless and includes citrus fruits, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, celery and cacao. Herbs and spices like parsley and cayenne are super rich in these compounds. Then you have the rich red and purple foods like beetroot, berries, grapes, plums and pomegranates.
A few compounds you need to be consuming in your regular intake of fruit and vegetables include resveratrol, quercitin, vitamin C and E, EGCG found in green tea, lutein and zeaxanthin. Enjoying the colours of the rainbow will proviide a broad range of antioxidants if consumed on a regular basis. For some individuals however, specific antioxidant supplementation may be of benefit for optimal health.
You could consider adding the following:
Vitamin C is known as the all purpose antioxidant
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotinoid family and may benefit skin elasticity and moisture retention which means less wrinkles!
Glutathione is the master antioxidant that helps to repair damage from the modern often toxic world we live in
Resveratrol for anti aging
Vitamin E supports cardiovascular health
Alpha lipoic acid is great for recycling other antioxidants and may improve blood sugar sensitivity
Natural antioxidants could be considered as biological response modifiers maintaing oxidative homeostasis in our body. Powerful free radical fighters that
are anti inflammatory, reduce signs of aging, improve wellbeing and may offer protection against disease.
An optimal collection of antioxidants comes from plant based foods we eat everyday. Key supplementation is an additional approach for your consideration.