What are the antioxidants and what are their benefits for health? Well, antioxidants are the substances that prevent or slow the damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the molecules that body produces in reaction to environmental and other processes in body. Antioxidants are also called free-radical scavengers. There are multiple sources to obtain antioxidants both natural and artificial.
Plant Based Antioxidants
Plant based foods like fruits and vegetables are considered rich in antioxidants. Furthermore, plant based antioxidants are phytonutrient or plant based nutrient.
Endogenous and Exogenous Antioxidants
Human body also make some antioxidants, the antioxidants made by body are called endogenous antioxidants. Antioxidants that we take from other sources are called exogenous antioxidants.
When body processes food and reacts to environment some waste substances are produced. These waste substances are called free radicals. Furthermore body have to remove free radicals efficiently if it can’t then it will cause oxidative stress. Inflammation, pollution, UV exposure, and smoking can increase the production of free radicals in body.
Oxidative stress harms the body function and cells. Free radicals also called reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oxidative stress can cause several diseases such as, cancer, arthritis, stroke, heart disease, respiratory disease, immune deficiency, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease and other inflammatory and ischemic conditions.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
As free radicals are produced in body the antioxidants counteract their damaging effects. But in many cases free radicals outnumber the antioxidants already present in the body. That’s why it’s necessary to have a continuous supply of antioxidants to keep balance in body. Antioxidants main benefit is to neutralize free radicals in our body. This boosts overall health of the body.
There is vast range of antioxidants and different antioxidants benefits different parts of the body. For instance lycopene is good for prostate health, beta carotene for eyes, proanthocyanidins are good urinary tract health and flavonoids are beneficial for heart health.
Antioxidants Skin Health Benefits
Exposure to the high level of ultraviolet light can cause skin damage in form of sunburn, premature aging of skin, photodermatoses and skin cancers. That damage is done by the superoxide radicals. This is where antioxidants play vital role to protect your skin. Astaxanthin with beta carotene and vitamin E is best and powerful antioxidant that protect skin for the reactive species of oxygen.
Antioxidants Support Immune System
Singlet oxygen that produces free radicals can compromise the immune system. The antioxidants Astaxanthin and Spirulina have the ability to enhance the immune system and protect the cell membranes and cellular DNA from mutation. Astaxanthin is most powerful extinguisher of singlet oxygen and Spirulina has the variety of antioxidants and other substances which are beneficial for boosting immune system.
Other Health Benefits of Antioxidants
In today’s polluted world it’s hard for body to keep up with antioxidant production. Therefore it’s necessary to increase the intake of antioxidants for optimum health. A good amount of antioxidants like minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and enzymes should be added in daily diet. Increase in daily antioxidants intake boost protection for the body against immune system problems, heart problems, mood disorders, eye problems, and memory problems.