Antioxidants are substances found in the body and in foods. They are known to prevent and slow the damage to cells caused by free radicals which are harmful molecules produced by the body as a result of the reaction to environmental pressure such as pollution, smoke from cigarette and UV exposure. Studies have shown that these antioxidants play significant roles in preventing heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other respiratory diseases.
Benefits of these antioxidants have been shown to include protection against cell damage from free radicals otherwise known as oxidative stress. Ingestion of food rich in antioxidants can help increase blood levels of antioxidants which are useful in fighting oxidative stress and minimize the risks of the diseases mentioned.
There is a wide range of antioxidants but familiar ones include vitamin C, E and may offer protection from damage caused by free radicals. Other naturally occurring antioxidants include flavonoids, phenols and lignans that are found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and cocoa. These naturally occurring antioxidants are high in fibre, low in saturated fat and cholesterol; they are also sources of vitamins and minerals necessary for our body.
It is therefore important that for our health and wellbeing, antioxidants rich in a wide range of fruits, juices, and vegetables are incorporated in our diet. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are all top fruits sources of antioxidants. Other fruits such as apple, grapes and citrus are also good sources of antioxidants. It is recommended that the safer and healthier form to derive antioxidants from are through a healthy diet rather than from supplements as food sources contain a wider variety of these antioxidants in varying amounts.
Antioxidant supplements are quite popular, they contain concentrated forms of antioxidants. However, they tend to have associated risks when taken in high doses and it is of great importance that you check with your healthcare practitioner before consuming them as they may also interfere with other regular medication used in the treatment of other medical conditions.
In a nutshell, evidence suggests that it is much healthier to derive antioxidants needed by our body from naturally occurring antioxidants in fruits and vegetables rather than relying heavily on antioxidant supplements.
It is advisable therefore to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products to achieve an overall antioxidant effect derived from the diet. However, for people who rely on antioxidant supplements, it is recommended that they take supplements containing all nutrients at appropriate, recommended daily allowance and consult with their health care practitioners for more information.
Please note that contents of Pharmahealthtalk health advice and healthy tips are no substitute for any advice recommended by your doctor or other healthcare professionals. Always seek a medical opinion for your health conditions.
- antioxidants on www.medicalnewstoday.com
- antioxidants on www.healthline.com
- antioxidants on www.mayoclinic.org
- antioxidants on www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health